Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)

The diagnostic test called Hysterosalpingogram or HSG involves injecting dye through the cervix into the uterus. The dye flowing through the uterus and into the tubes will enable the physician to determine if the tubes are open and if the uterus is shaped normally.

First, a speculum is inserted into the vagina (the same as for a pap smear). This enables the physician to view the cervix (the opening to the uterus). A small plastic tube is inserted through the cervix. Sometimes a tenaculum (metal clip) may need to be placed on the cervix to straighten it; this causes a pinching sensation. The tube is attached to a syringe containing X-ray dye, which is injected into the uterus and tubes. On a nearby television screen you will be able to see the fluid as it enters the uterine cavity. You may feel some pelvic discomfort, similar to menstrual cramps, as the uterus and tubes appear. There will be a physician, radiologist, and technician there with you if you need any help. After 1-2 films are taken the instruments will be removed. The entire procedure usually takes about 10-15 minutes.

The risks of a HSG include bleeding, cramping, allergic reaction, pain and rarely an infection (1 chance in 500). If you have a history of pelvic inflammatory disease or if your HSG test demonstrates certain problems, you may be given an antibiotic to take although most women do not need this.

If you are allergic to previously used X-ray dyes, crabs or shellfish please let us know since you may also be allergic to the dye used for the HSG. If you develop hives, shortness of breath or a rash you should notify your doctor as soon as possible.

In order to schedule a HSG, call (859) 260-1515 when your menstrual cycle begins. If your period starts on a weekend, please call the following Monday. The HSG will be scheduled between your period and time for ovulation usually between cycle days 5-14. You should take 600 mg of ibuprofen (3 Advil tablets) one hour before the scheduled time to reduce cramping and discomfort. Please bring a sanitary pad as there may be some vaginal staining for 1-2 days.

Pelvic X-rays such as the HSG performed on pregnant women may pose a risk to a fetus. Although the HSG is scheduled only after a period, some women interpret early pregnancy bleeding as a period. For this reason, we ask that you take a urine pregnancy test the day before or the day of the HSG even if you had what you think is a period.