Is a Hysterosalpingography?
A hysterosalpingography is a type of X-ray that looks at a
woman’s uterus (womb) and fallopian tubes (structures that transport eggs from
the ovaries to the uterus). This type of X-ray uses a contrast material so that
the uterus and fallopian tubes show up clearly on the X-ray images. The type of
X-ray used is called a fluoroscopy, which creates a video image rather than a
The radiologist can watch the dye as it moves through your
reproductive system. They will then be able to see if you have a blockage in
your fallopian tubes or other structural abnormalities in your uterus.
Hysterosalpingography may be also referred to as uterosalpingography.
Is the Test Ordered?
Your doctor may order this test if you’re having trouble getting
pregnant or have had pregnancy problems, such as multiple miscarriages.
Hysterosalpingography can help diagnose the cause of infertility.
Infertility may be caused by:
- structural abnormalities in the uterus, which
may be congenital (genetic) or acquired
- blockage of the fallopian tubes
- scar tissue in the uterus
- uterine fibroids
- uterine tumors or polyps
If you’ve had tubal surgery, your doctor may order a
hysterosalpingography to check that this surgery was successful. If you had a
tubal ligation (a procedure that closes the fallopian tubes), your doctor may
order this test to ensure that your tubes are closed properly. The test can
also check that a reversal of a tubal ligation was successful in reopening the
for the Test
Some women find this test painful, so your doctor may prescribe you
a pain medication or suggest an over-the-counter pain medication. This medicine
should be taken about an hour before your scheduled procedure. Your doctor may
also prescribe a sedative to help you relax if you’re nervous about the
procedure. They may prescribe an antibiotic to take before or after the test to
help prevent infection.
The test will be scheduled a few days to a week after you’ve had
your menstrual period. This is done to ensure that you’re not pregnant. It also
helps lower your risk of infection. It’s important to let your doctor know if
you might be pregnant because this test can be hazardous to the fetus. Also,
you should not have this test if you have pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or
unexplained vaginal bleeding.
This X-ray test uses contrast dye. Contrast dye is a substance
that, when swallowed or injected, helps to highlight certain organs or tissues
from those around them. It does not dye the organs, and will either dissolve or
leave the body through urination. It’s important to let your doctor know if
you’ve had an allergic reaction to barium or contrast dye.
Metal can interfere with the X-ray machine. You’ll be asked to
remove any metal on your body, such as jewelry,
before the procedure. There will be an area to store your belongings, but you
may wish to leave your jewelry at home.
Happens During the Test?
This test requires that you put on a hospital gown and lie on
your back with your knees bent and your feet spread, as you would during a
pelvic examination. The technician will then insert a speculum into your
vagina. This is done so that the cervix, which is located at the back of the
vagina, can be seen. You may feel some discomfort.
The technician will then clean the cervix and may inject a local
anesthetic into the cervix to reduce discomfort. The injection may feel like a
pinch. Next, an instrument called a cannula will be inserted into the cervix
and the speculum will be removed. The technician will insert dye through the
cannula, which will flow into your uterus and fallopian tubes.
You’ll then be placed under the X-ray machine, and the technician
will begin taking X-rays. You may be asked to change positions several times so
that the technician can capture different angles. You may feel some pain and
cramping as the dye moves through your fallopian tubes. When the X-rays have
been taken, the technician will remove the cannula. You’ll then be prescribed
any appropriate medications for pain or infection prevention and you’ll be discharged.
Complications from a hysterosalpingography are rare. Possible
- allergic reaction to contrast dye
- endometrial (uterine lining) or fallopian tube
- injury to the uterus, such as perforation
Happens After the Test?
After the test, you may continue to have cramps similar to those
experienced during a menstrual cycle. You may also experience vaginal discharge
or slight vaginal bleeding. You should use a pad instead of a tampon to avoid
infection during this time.
Some women also experience dizziness and nausea after the test.
These side effects are normal and will eventually go away. However, let your
doctor know if you experience symptoms of infection, including:
- severe pain and cramping
- foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- heavy vaginal bleeding
After the test, the radiologist will send your doctor the
results. Your doctor will go over the results with you. Depending on the results,
your doctor may want to do follow-up examinations or order further tests.