What 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 still picture.
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.
Why 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 fallopian tubes.
What 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 radiologist 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 radiologist 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 radiologist 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 radiologist will begin taking X-rays. You may be asked to change positions several times so that the radiologist 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 radiologist will remove the cannula. You’ll then be prescribed any appropriate medications for pain or infection prevention and you’ll be discharged.