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Hysterosalpingogram

(continued)

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.

How It Feels

You probably will feel some cramping like menstrual cramps during the test. The amount of pain you have depends on what problems the doctor finds and treats during the test.

Risks

There is always a small chance of damage to cells or tissue from being exposed to any radiation, including the low levels of radiation used for this test. The chance of damage from the X-rays is generally very low compared with the potential benefits of the test.

There is a small chance of a pelvic infection, endometritis, or salpingitis after the test. The chance may be higher for women who have had pelvic infections before. Your doctor may give you antibiotics if he or she thinks you might develop a pelvic infection.

There is a small chance of damaging or puncturing the uterus or fallopian tubes during the test.

There is a small chance of an allergic reaction to the iodine X-ray dye, especially if you are allergic to any shellfish.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 01, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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