Infertility is the condition of not getting pregnant even after trying timed and unprotected sex for over a year. Getting pregnant is a complex process and various factors play a role like menstrual cycles, ovulation, sperm count and mobility, etc. A problem in any of these factors can make pregnancy difficult or even impossible. One of the reasons which may cause infertility is the blockage of fallopian tubes and to diagnose this condition, the HSG test is done.
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The role of fallopian tubes:
Fallopian tubes are responsible for transporting the egg from the ovary to the uterus. If the fallopian tubes are blocked, the sperm will not be able to reach the egg or the fertilized egg won’t be able to reach the uterus. Either of these conditions can hinder pregnancy and hence, proper functioning of fallopian tubes is important for pregnancy. There are various causes which may lead to a blocked fallopian tube.
The HSG test:
A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is a special fluoroscopic x-ray procedure which is used to observe and evaluate the patency of fallopian tubes and the shape of the uterine cavity. The patency of fallopian tubes means the openness of the tubes, which is necessary for pregnancy to occur.
HSG is a very useful diagnostic procedure as a major percentage of infertilities are due to a blocked fallopian tube. An HSG test is also useful in cases of recurrent miscarriages, abnormal vaginal bleeding, or uterine anomalies.
How is the test done?
HSG is an outpatient test, meaning the patient can go home the same day the test is done and does not require hospitalization. The test can be completed within a span of 30 minutes and is done after the menstrual flow has stopped and before ovulation (which normally occurs around the 14th day of the menstrual cycle).
For the test, you’ll be made to lie down under an x-ray imaging device (fluoroscope). After cleaning the cervix, the doctor will carefully insert a thin tube known as a cannula into the cervix. With the help of the cannula, the doctor will fill your uterus with a solution containing iodine. With the help of x-ray imaging and digital imagery, the structure of fallopian tubes and the uterine cavity can be clearly obtained as it contrasts against the colour of iodine.
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What to expect?
You might feel some pain and cramping during the procedure. The pain ranges from mild to moderate and only in very rare cases does it cause extreme cramping. Do let your doctor know beforehand if you are allergic to iodine. The HSG test is a relatively simpler process and there is not much to worry about. In the days following the test, you may experience vaginal spotting, mild cramps, and abdominal pain. Immediately contact your doctor if you experience severe pain, heavy vaginal discharge, vomiting, or fainting.
The HSG test is a very useful diagnostic tool to determine the blockage of fallopian tubes. Depending on the results, your doctor will direct you to further tests if needed, or suggest procedures like laparoscopy, IVF, etc.
Infertility or difficulty in conceiving can be a very frustrating and depressing experience and at Cloudnine, we totally understand it. Our state-of-the-art medical facilities coupled with a highly skilled and diverse team of specialists aim to provide the best possible treatment for infertility. Our specialists which include fertility specialists, gynaecologists, etc. are well versed in performing tests like HSG and provide the best possible solution to infertility.