How It Is Done
A hysterosalpingogram usually is done
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
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.
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.
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,
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
There is a small chance of damaging or
puncturing the uterus or fallopian tubes during the test.
a small chance of an
allergic reaction to the iodine X-ray dye, especially
if you are allergic to any shellfish.