What Is An HSG X-ray?

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.

hsg x-ray

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!

Other links you can look at for more info: webMD.com and sharedjourney.com

*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…

32 thoughts on “What Is An HSG X-ray?

  1. Sorry for that xperience am very scared now that am going to book an appointment for an HSG.

  2. I am having an hsg on 1 June 2010 and please keep me posted on other women’s stories as I dont know how I will feel after the procedure as I am looking forward to get pregnant since I have endometriosis.

  3. The procedure sounds scary; I am also supposed to do HSG in the next 10 days and i am so scared….

  4. Hey girl, been catching up on many weeks….I MUST change your address in my feeder! Just wanted to say that I had this procedure done too. Not a picnic. But I did fall pregant within a few months after….not sure if it was co-incidence or not.
    .-= Melody´s last blog ..Rules of the game =-.

  5. I get so cross when I read about how insensitive medical staff can be. Just because these things are the norm in their days work, does not mean that it is normal for the person coming to have the procedure. It is frightening and very out of their realm of normal. As a nurse I get embarrassed by medical staff when I hear stories like this.
    Sorry you had to go through such a crap experience . I hope the results are good.
    .-= Sally´s last blog ..All in a nights confusion =-.

  6. That’s a mighty fine looking uterus you got there young lady. You come around here often? (Ok, that was really lame, wasn’t it?) lol
    If we cannot laugh at ourselves, what else can we laugh at?
    .-= Malicious Intent´s last blog ..Mommy Dearest =-.

  7. My eyes were watering when I read this. I really hope that the results are favourable and that the procedure “encourages” a pregnancy.

  8. Hey Angel, don’t be distressed if your doctor tells things don’t look good. I had an HSG and he hauled out an image of one very lopsided uterus and told me I had a problem. Less than a month later I was pregnant with Little One – what will be, will be. Just relax, trust and don’t stress!!!

  9. OMG i had it done some time ago and the procedure hurt so much it brought tears to my eyes! I had a friend who had gone thru it and said the after part was painful with cramping and stuff but her procedure did not hurt. Mine had said all was well – yet i get to have it again as part of my surgery in 2 weeks at least this time i will be under so i wont feel a thing. Keeping fingers crossed for good test results.
    .-= Katy´s last blog ..wow I haven’t blogged in over a month =-.

  10. That sounds horrible. The things we go through to get children and the things we go through once they’re here! It was a bit rude of them not to explain the procedure to you even if it is old hat to them. Hope everything turns out normal!
    .-= Momcat´s last blog ..I had a difficult start today =-.

  11. great read thanks for sharing with us. good luck with the results and hope everything works out in your favour i have followed your blogs for ages but its the first time im commenting wish you luck for the future and look forward to reading more of your posts

  12. Holding thumbs for the results 🙂
    It does sound horrid tho – I freak out at my gynae apps *blush* so can imagine it was not the most fun you have had!

    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Letter to the bugs =-.

  13. Sounds like a very uncomfortable procedure. Luckily it was over in a short period of time.

    I hope for the best and keep us posted.

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