Medicine always seeks to find an explanation to the main problems that afflict human beings, with the hope of finding a cure or solution to each of them, and thus improve not only the quality of human life, but also life expectancy. . This applies to problems such as infertility in women ; In order to study this problem, there are methods such as hysterosalpingography, and useful tests that seek to explain why a woman cannot get pregnant.
This time we will provide you with all the information you need to know about hysterosalpingography, an exam that is performed on women when they cannot get pregnant. Which, in addition, allows doctors to know other aspects about the female uterus, which makes hysterosalpingography one of the most relevant fertility tests in current medicine.
What is hysterosalpingography
Hysterosalpingography, also known as uterosalpingography or simply HSG, is a fertility test that is performed with the help of an X-ray machine when it is suspected that the infertility problem may occur due to some uterine failure. This test consists of an x-ray of the fallopian tubes and the uterus, during the test a contrast dye is used to facilitate the visualization of both areas during the x-ray.
What is the purpose of uterosalpingography?
As has been well mentioned, the objective of this X-ray is to determine if the woman’s infertility may be due to a problem in the uterus. To do this, the test checks the permeability of the fallopian tubes and the uterus , and in this way possible anomalies that may cause a difficulty when the woman becomes pregnant are ruled out.
Uses of hysterosalpingography
In addition to checking if the woman is sterile, hysterosalpingography can also have other uses, however, a large part of these have been displaced by other medical tests , such as ultrasound and uteroscopy. Due to this reason, the main current use of this test is to determine abnormalities that may make it impossible to give birth; however, this exam also allows analysis of additional factors, although these are not prioritized for this test.
Determine the opening of the fallopian tubes
Occasionally, one or both of the fallopian tubes can be blocked. With the help of this test it is possible to determine if the tubes are obstructed or not ; in some cases it is even possible to release them during the test, but this will depend on where you take the exam.
It may seem like a painful process at first, however, you shouldn’t worry in the least as it is highly unlikely that something will happen and the test will get complicated. In addition, in more than one case, freeing the passage of the fallopian tubes can even help you solve the problem of sterility , which is why many women perform this test in the hope of getting pregnant again.
Keeping track of contraceptive surgeries
A woman is not always sterile for natural reasons, there are cases in which it is they who decide that way. There are contraceptive methods which require surgery in the area of the uterus, such as the ligation or cutting of the fallopian tubes; which are responsible for making pregnancy impossible.
When these procedures are done, there are usually no complications, as long as they are done properly. Even so, it is always good to have control over your body and everything that happens in it; and precisely this exam is excellent for it.
Hysterosalpingography allows you to study your fallopian tubes, which in turn lets you see if everything is fine after contraceptive surgery , whether you want to check that everything is fine or if you even want to consult your doctor if it is possible to return to get pregnant, after all, not all contraceptive methods with surgery are permanent, some are reversible, while in the case of others the possibility of failure has even been seen, although in very rare situations and almost impossible.
Check for tumors
Through this high contrast radiograph it is possible to confirm the existence of tumors within the uterus . One of the reasons why this test was previously ordered to be carried out was precisely to check the existence of tumors in the uterus, since these are one of the possible causes why a woman cannot get pregnant.
If you are going to have this exam, you can always take advantage of the moment and confirm that there is no foreign body in your uterus, in this way you can rule out diseases such as cervical cancer and uterine fibers.
Check the development of the uterine structure
Another use of hysterosalpingography is to check the current state of the uterine structure; as well as discovering if it has had any problems during its development . This is important since a poor development of the uterine structure can not only affect the chances of becoming sterile, but it can also become a cause of spontaneous abortion, since the uterus will not develop correctly during pregnancy.
Now that you know what this test is usually used for, it is time to see what the hysterosalpingography exam consists of. In this section you will see the path that the patient takes through the test.
The first thing to say about it is that it is a fairly simple test, it is very rare that there is any complication during it and it usually lasts about 30 minutes from when you enter the consultation until the entire procedure is finished. Currently, and with advances in technology, this test can even be faster depending on the medical center where you perform it.
In some cases, your doctor may ask you to take some type of antibiotic ; This is done in order to avoid any possible infection from appearing. Remember that, although it is a fairly safe test, it does not mean that there can be no complications, it is simply that they are very rare, and taking antibiotics before and after the test is precisely a preventive measure so that no type of infection occurs.
Another important step is to relax , since they are going to introduce a catheter to be able to enter the special contrast dye, some women tend to get scared or nervous, which can be dangerous since if any more movement is made the catheter can reach puncture any part of the uterus and cause damage to it, in addition to bleeding. The doctor will most likely talk to you to keep you as calm as possible before the test.
Be completely honest with the doctor
This is an important point to know. You need to be completely honest with the specialist, otherwise there may be complications. If you have had allergic reactions with the dye they are going to use, it is best to report it in advance , in this way you can find another solution that does not involve using the dye.
Similarly, it is important that you inform your doctor if you have recently had strange bleeding , as well as if you have had abdominal pain that may be in the uterus. In this way you can take the necessary precautions in case something does not go well in your uterus.
It is done after the end of menstrual bleeding
It is important that this test is not performed while pregnant, due to this reason, it is always performed within days of the end of menstrual bleeding, generally between 5 and 8 days later. This is done this way mainly for two reasons:
- The doctor makes sure that the woman is not pregnant.
- Reduces the risk of infection.
Apart from the two reasons mentioned above, it also has an advantage to the test, which is that during this stage it is much easier to see the uterine cavity on x-rays. This makes it easier for the gynecologist to study the uterus, and allows for a more efficient diagnosis.
You don’t have to worry about food
Before the test you do not have to worry at all about what you can or cannot eat, since the foods you eat before having the hysterosalpingogram do not affect the results at all .
Of course, you have to keep in mind that after the test you may feel somewhat dizzy and nauseous, so abusing food before the exam can cause vomiting. To prevent this, doctors use medication such as Valium, to decrease anxiety and discomfort that may appear after the test.
During the exam
The exam is quite simple, the first thing the doctor will ask you after entering the X-ray room is to lie down under the X-ray machine, and with both legs stretched out similar to when you perform a pelvic exam.
With the help of a speculum, the doctor opens and dilates the vagina, which facilitates subsequent work. After dilating the vagina, the doctor proceeds to clean the cervix and then insert a catheter through which the special contrast dye will enter to perform the X-ray.
Once the dye flows through the fallopian tubes and into the uterus, an X-ray technique is performed that allows the desired part of the body to be seen in motion. This technique is called fluoroscopy and, together with the contrast dye, it allows a detailed look at the uterus and fallopian tubes while they are in motion.
After the x-rays are taken, the doctor will remove the catheter and the test is complete. Test results come out instantly , and you won’t have to wait for virtually anything to receive them. Most likely, your gynecologist will ask you to see the results in a few days to make a more precise analysis of these and thus inform you of your condition, whether the test has been positive or negative; as well as if it is necessary to do some treatment in particular.
After the exam
Once the exam is finished, you will have to wait to receive your results, which does not take long, in a matter of a few minutes you will have your results in your hands. You should keep in mind that there are possible side effects after the test, among the most common side effects are:
- Discomfort in the vaginal area.
- General discomfort.
Additionally, you may also have an allergic reaction to the contrast dye used during the test. Although it is only a small possibility, it still exists, so do not be scared if it happens, your doctor will tell you what to do in case it happens, and generally it is not usually anything serious.
Similarly, an infection may occur during the test, both in the endometrium and in the fallopian tubes. This occurs very rarely, and antibiotic treatment is usually sufficient to fix the problem, so it is not a compelling reason not to have this test.
In general, the side effects are very few or very mild, while the benefits of the test are quite high . This makes hysterosalpingography a highly recommended test, especially if you are looking to get pregnant and have not had any success. With this test you can not only look for a cause, but also the solution to the problem.
Test results what to expect
The results of this X-ray should be taken with a radiologist or with your gynecologist, they are the two doctors who can help you interpret the results.
In general, in the results you can see if the uterine shape is normal, or if you have any abnormality or a foreign body in your uterus. In case something abnormal is shown on the X-rays, your gynecologist will likely ask you to perform some additional tests to verify what it is and thus perform the corresponding treatments, if there are any.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.