Close Button

Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)

If you are worried that you are suffering with symptoms of blocked fallopian tubes, a hysterosalpingogram can help diagnose it.

What is a hysterosalpingogram used for?

An HSG is a special x-ray examination which looks at the inside of your uterus (womb) and fallopian tubes. It aims to show whether the inside of your uterus is normal and if your fallopian tubes are damaged, swollen or blocked.

A hysterosalpingogram may explain why you have not been able to get pregnant and it will help your doctor decide the most appropriate treatment for you.

The HSG should be carried out within the first 10 days of your menstrual cycle but after blood flow has stopped. This is usually between days seven and 10. This is to make sure that you are not pregnant and to avoid using x-rays, which emit radiation, during early pregnancy.

I have a question about a hysterosalpingogram

Why would I have a hysterosalpingogram?

A hysterosalpingogram can help spot issues in your reproductive anatomy that may prevent you from getting pregnant. These issues include blocked fallopian tubes and an irregularly shaped uterus.

Can you feel if your fallopian tubes are blocked?

Blocked fallopian tubes don’t often cause symptoms. Many women don’t know they have blocked tubes until they try to get pregnant and have trouble. In some cases, blocked fallopian tubes can lead to mild, regular pain on one side of the abdomen, because of a build-up of fluid within that blocked tube - called a hydrosalpinx.

Who is likely to get blocked fallopian tubes?

Approximately one in four women with infertility have a tube blockage. A blocked tube on both sides [in both tubes] will make achieving a natural pregnancy impossible. Healthy [and open] fallopian tubes are needed for the egg to be fertilised and transported to the uterus for a successful pregnancy to occur.

How are blocked fallopian tubes diagnosed?

To determine whether your fallopian tubes are blocked, your doctor may suggest a laparoscopy with a dye test or a hysterosalpingogram. In an HSG test, liquid dye is inserted by catheter through the vagina and through the cervix into the uterus. Then, X-rays are taken to see if there is a blockage or if the dye flows freely into the abdomen.

What’s the difference between a hysterosalpingogram and a hysteroscopy?

A hysterosalpingogram is a type of x-ray which is used to diagnose a range of conditions, whereas a hysteroscopy is when a small camera is used to look into the uterus through the vagina and cervix. It is a procedure to treat conditions inside the uterus.

What happens during a hysterosalpingogram?

You will be asked to lie down on the x-ray table in a similar position to that used for a smear test. An instrument called a speculum will be inserted into your vagina (as in a smear test). A fine tube is inserted through the cervix into the uterus and held in position with a small balloon.

A small amount of colourless dye is then injected into the uterus and fallopian tubes. This dye is visible on x-ray so images will be taken at this time.

You should allow for 30 minutes which includes time to change into your gown, the test itself, and changing afterwards.

The test can be a little uncomfortable and rarely can make you feel faint. Usually it is not too dissimilar to having a smear test performed.

What should I expect after a hysterosalpingogram?

You will be given a sanitary towel after the procedure as there may be some slight spotting, and some of the dye will trickle out over the next 24 hours. (The dye is colourless but a little sticky). You may be advised not to use tampons.

You are free to leave the hospital when you feel ready –this will be after approximately 30 minutes.

If you have any problems with bleeding or offensive discharge after your test, or if you have severe pain which is not relieved by paracetamol or ibuprofen, please contact your GP for an urgent review appointment.

Your results will be discussed with you when you next see your referring Consultant or your GP.

Benenden Hospital female health hub

Supporting your health, every step of the way

As you move through the different stages of your life – from coping with periods to pregnancy to menopause and beyond - your needs might change.

Taking care of your body and mind at work or in your personal life is important and our female health hub is here to provide you further information and signposting to help.

Contact us about hysterosalpingogram treatment

It's easy to book online or by giving us a call.