Simply put, a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is used by fertility specialists to determine the health of the uterus and fallopian tubes.
This might be a little too graphic for the dudes, so I will forgive anyone with a penis, or anyone a little squeamish, for not reading… but I do think it may be worth posting about for anyone else that may Google it in future.
To be honest- I wish I had Googled it properly! And I REALLY wish my Glugster had been there to hold my hand 🙁 and had I Googled it properly; I would have arranged to have him there.
An HSG x-ray is just one of the many tests done when you see a fertility specialist because you’re battling to fall pregnant. As you’d expect, just about anything to do with reproduction has a gynecological aspect to it, so a lot of these procedures are invasive and more than a little uncomfortable. Thus far I have only had to undergo the bare minimum of them, so I am lucky.
I was quizzed when I saw the doctor, and had to fill in reams of paperwork about my medical history and my allergies, so we had already established that I do not have an iodine sensitivity- which is important for an HSG!
The test should also be done as soon as possible after your period and before ovulation so that you and the doc can be sure you’re not pregnant. And there are other things to take into consideration too- like diabetes, bleeding problems or infections- so clear all that with the doc first.
So. Last Thursday. I left home extra early because I was afraid of getting stuck in traffic, and arrived ninety minutes early for my appointment. I sat and read my book whilst I waited, and then I coulda kicked myself when the clinic staff called me for my appointment- after the kakkest fast food breakfast I have ever had– because it was in that instant I realised I hadn’t Googled the procedure. And I Google EVERYthing! I was already nervous, and suddenly my butterflies started doing back-flips!
I got up off the waiting room couch; put the bookmark in my book, and myself and another woman followed the sister down to the labs. We waited another 5 minutes and I was called in first.
I had to strip from the waist down and put on a hospital-type gown.
Then I had to get up on to a typical x-ray bed, you know the hard narrow ones, and lie on my back on a hospital-issue linen protector. There was a big x-ray machine arm over the bed, on which I was cautioned not to bump my head when I got up onto the bed, and there was a raised screen off to the left. They moved the bed a little with me on it, until I could clearly see an x-ray picture of my pelvis nicely centered on the screen. Then they asked if I was cold and if I need a blanket, I said no thank you, and lay there waiting for the doctor and listening to the two women talking about their children and movies and such for 5 minutes.
If I think back, they could have used that time to explain the procedure to me a little… even if I had Googled it.
When the doc arrived, he introduced himself and immediately started the procedure. Okay, so no explanation from him either.
He first inserted a speculum, like your gyno uses (hands up if you know how awesome that feels… NOT!) and once it was in and screwed open, he put a catheter tube through my cervix into my uterus, and proceeded to fill my uterus with an iodine solution.
At this point I’m trying to force myself to relax and practicing my Lamaze breathing techniques…
The liquid flows up into the fallopian tubes and then out into the abdominal cavity. This is how they see, using a moving x-ray (or a fluoroscope), whether the uterus and fallopian tubes are properly open and there are no blockages and there’s no scarring*.
It doesn’t hurt when the iodine solution flows in, and it’s not cold or anything, but my uterus didn’t like it much and it hurt… almost as if my body was protesting the “invasion”!
Thankfully it was over pretty quickly, and I had my eyes closed the whole time so I didn’t even see if the dye flowed through everywhere its supposed to flow through or not…
Once the doctor removed the catheter and the speculum, I was allowed to lie still for a few minutes to recover, and then I could get up and get dressed.
And then the linen protector made sense because as soon as I sat up, some of the dye leaked onto the bed.
They had very thoughtfully provided sanitary towels, and I realised I would perhaps need a couple…
I was sore, like mild period cramp sore, and I was uncomfortable- but not unduly so. I could walk and drive and everything, and I got lucky in that I managed to get a follow-up appointment in someone else’s cancellation!
I bled a little through the day, along with the leaking iodine solution, but by lunchtime-ish I was fine again.
So now we wait for the appointment to see the doctor again and hear what all the test results are.
And I completely forgot to mention that apart from clarifying whether or not you have physical issues, the procedure itself is often enough to “encourage” a pregnancy on the woman’s next cycle as she’s essentially had her uterus and fallopian tubes washed out and any small blockages cleaned out!
*ahem… I had a termination in 1998, and there was a slight possibility of scarring from the procedure- which is in essence like having a built in IUD
…come play on my rollercoaster…