How To Prepare continued...
This test should be done 2 to 5 days after your menstrual period has ended to be sure you are not pregnant. It should also be done before you ovulate the next month (unless you are using contraception) to avoid using X-rays during an early pregnancy. You may want to bring along a sanitary napkin to wear after the test because some leakage of the X-ray dye may occur along with slight bleeding.
You may be asked to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of the test and agree to have it done.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
A hysterosalpingogram usually is done by a radiologist in the X-ray room of a hospital or clinic. A radiology technologist and a nurse may help the doctor. A gynecologist or a doctor who specializes in infertility (reproductive endocrinologist) also may help with the test.
Before the test begins, you may get a sedative or ibuprofen (such as Advil) to help you relax and to relax your uterus so it will not cramp during the test. You will need to take off your clothes below the waist and drape a gown around your waist. You will empty your bladder and then lie on your back on an examination table with your feet raised and supported by stirrups. This allows your doctor to look at your genital area.
Your doctor will put a smooth, curved speculum into your vagina. The speculum gently spreads apart the vaginal walls, allowing him or her to see the inside of the vagina and the cervix. The cervix may be held in place with a clamp called a tenaculum. The cervix is washed with a special soap and a stiff tube (cannula) or a flexible tube (catheter) is put through the cervix into the uterus. The X-ray dye is put through the tube. If the fallopian tubes are open, the dye will flow through them and spill into the belly where it will be absorbed naturally by the body. If a fallopian tube is blocked, the dye will not pass through. The X-ray pictures are shown on a TV monitor during the test. If another view is needed, the examination table may be tilted or you may be asked to change position.
After the test, the cannula or catheter and speculum are removed. This test usually takes 15 to 30 minutes.