The hysterosalpingogram, often called the HSG test, is a useful tool because it allows a reproductive endocrinologist to see the inside of the uterus and Fallopian tubes. Because fertilization occurs in the Fallopian tubes, it is very important that they are open and normal in size and shape. If you have an HSG test early on, it will take less time to develop the right treatment approach. This could reduce the amount of time it takes you to get pregnant.
Fallopian Tubes: A Delicate Matter
The Fallopian tube is the pathway the egg takes on its way from the ovary to the uterus. These tubes are very delicate, which puts them at risk for damage if you have pelvic surgery, pelvic infections, appendicitis, endometriosis, or bowel infections. The hysterosalpingogram makes it possible to determine if the tubes are blocked or filled with fluid.
The HSG test helps determine if a sperm will be able to find one of your eggs naturally. If there is a blockage, your doctor will discuss your options with you.
Fluid-filled tubes, also called hydrosalpinges, make it less likely you will get pregnant even with in vitro fertilization. If you have fluid in your tubes, you can have them removed to improve your chance of pregnancy with a minimally invasive procedure.
Checking the Uterus
If you have healthy Fallopian tubes and you’re still having difficulty getting pregnant, it’s also important to check your uterus. In addition to evaluating the fallopian tubes, the hysterosalpingogram can also help determine if your uterus has an abnormal structure or shape. Polyps, fibroids, scar tissue from a previous pelvic surgery, and abnormalities in uterine development may be seen up on your HSG. All of this information will help you and your doctor come up with the right treatment plan for your individual circumstances.
HSG Test Procedure
It is very important to have this test at the right time. The HSG test is usually done after your menstrual period is over, but before you ovulate to release your egg. This helps ensure you are not pregnant when you have the test. During the HSG, the doctor will insert a speculum into the vagina, which makes it easier to see the vagina and cervix. After advancing a catheter into the cervix, the doctor will fill the uterus and tubes with dye. If one of the Fallopian tubes is blocked, the dye will not pass through. If both tubes are open, the dye will pass through the tubes into the belly. This is nothing to worry about; your body will absorb it naturally.
A normal HSG shows a uterus with no polyps or fibroids and open Fallopian tubes with no scarring or damage. An abnormal HSG may show one or more of the following:
- Scarred or blocked uterus or tubes
- Uterine fibroids or polyps
- Developmental malformations in uterus or tubes
Fertility Help is Available
If you have not been able to get pregnant despite trying for at least one year (six months if you are age 35 or older), there are many options. Contact Atlantic Reproductive Medicine Specialists to schedule an appointment for an HSG test. Every test is performed by a reproductive endocrinologist. The doctor will interpret the results immediately so you don’t have to spend days worrying about the outcome.