What is HSG? – Medical Monday & The Language of Infertility
Medical Monday at PathtoFertility– demystifying the ABC’s of infertility talk. We use initials because they are short cuts. But that’s only true if you understand the language. And coming into fertility treatment, you don’t necessarily understand the language.
That’s more than ok. We will expand on those initials so that you do understand them.
A holiday wish for you is that you are successful with fertility treatment quickly enough that you don’t get a chance to get the language down pat. And even if you do learn the language, I wish that you forget it quickly in the happiness of an on-going pregnancy.
Meanwhile, though, here’s an explanation for HSG. Two reasons it’s nicknamed that– 1. the short cut mentioned above, 2. Many of us outside the clinical, medical world can’t pronounce it easily.
You don’t have to pronounce it easily or at all. Here’s a complete explanation of what it is, what it isn’t. Understand how it works and what to expect and you’re all set.
Straight from Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT)'s website, here’s HSG. ~ Lisa Rosenthal
Understanding the Language of Infertility – What is HSG?
Hysterosalpingography, or HSG for short, is an X-ray procedure used to evaluate the status of a woman’s fallopian tubes, the two structures that carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. It is also used to make sure that the uterine cavity has a normal shape and size and to identify uterine malformations, adhesions, polyps or fibroids. These types of problems may cause painful menstrual periods or repeated miscarriages.
The HSG procedure, which lasts five to ten minutes, is performed in a radiology facility separate from the clinic. It is scheduled during Days 7 to 10 of a woman’s menstrual cycle (Day 1 is the first day of bleeding), in the window of time between the end of the period and ovulation. Because some menstrual-like cramping is to be expected from an HSG, patients are advised to take 600 mg of Advil an hour prior to the test to help relax the uterus.
What Happens During an HSG Procedure?
At the time of your HSG, your cervix will be cleaned and a thin, soft catheter will be threaded through the vagina and into the uterine cavity. Contrast dye will be connected to the catheter. Using a machine placed over your abdomen, a radiologist will inject a dye into your uterine cavity and through your fallopian tubes.
The HSG is a very accurate test to document tubal patency. Occasionally the dye used during the procedure pushes through and opens a blocked tube. In other patients, dye does not spill through the fallopian tubes at all. If your tubes are blocked, or if you have a uterine polyp or fibroid, your RMACT physician will review your hysterosalpingogram findings and future treatment with you.
If you experience pain or fever after your HSG, please notify your nurse or physician.
Contact us for more information about Hysterosalpingography (HSG).
About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.