Fertility Tests- The Hysterosalpingogram

The hysterosalpingogram (HSG) fertility test is a dye study using x-rays to help outline the interior of the uterus and fallopian tubes. It gives information about the possibility of abnormalities within these structures. Such findings would include polyps, fibroids, or scar tissue in the uterus and obstruction in the tubes.

How the HSG is Done

The HSG is performed in the MJH Radiology Department on the first floor of the MJH Outpatient Care Center by one Dr. Bateman, Smith or Williams. The procedure begins with a speculum exam that allows the infertility specialist to cleanse the cervix with an antiseptic solution (Betadine) and place the HSG apparatus on the cervix. This may cause mild cramping.

The speculum is removed and a radiopaque dye is gently instilled through the apparatus into the uterus. The progress of the dye is monitored on a television screen as it travels through the uterus and the tubes. Several x-ray pictures will be taken during this time. The HSG takes approximately 15 minutes. The doctor will then discuss the results with you.

What to Expect

A few patients may experience some cramping during this procedure. To reduce this, it may be helpful to take 600 mg of Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil or Nuprin) an hour prior to your HSG.

It is common to have some spotting afterwards and this should not be a cause of concern. Mild cramps may also be experienced. This should clear up within a few hours. If the discomfort worsens or a fever develops, call the office to discuss this situation.

How to Schedule an HSG

Call the doctor's office at (434) 654-8520 during your period. This test is done between cycle days 7 and 11 (after menses cease and before ovulation). On the day of your appointment, you will go to the Radiology Department in the MJH Outpatient Care Center.

Special Instructions

Rarely, what seems to be a normal menstrual period is actually bleeding in early pregnancy. We require that you perform a home pregnancy test prior to your HSG. If the result is positive, alert one of the physicians and cancel your HSG. If you choose not to do a home pregnancy test, you are assuming the small risk you might actually be pregnant and you could harm the early pregnancy.

If you are still having menstrual bleeding on the day of your test, the HSG cannot be done and must be rescheduled.

If you have a known allergy to x-ray contrast media or iodine, it may not be possible to have an HSG. Please let your doctor know about this situation prior to the test.

Risks of a HSG

There is a risk of uterine and/or tubal infection after an HSG. This may be a new infection caused by the procedure or a flare-up of an old infection. If there is a history of pelvic infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to be taken prior to the procedure. However, nothing will totally eliminate this risk. In our experience, this risk is extremely low - less than 1%.