Hysterosalpingography is a type of x-ray. It is used to examine the uterus and fallopian tubes. A special dye is used to create more detailed images.
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Reasons for Test
Hysterosalpingography is used to evaluate:
- Abnormal bleeding
- Abnormal pubertal development
- Traumatic injury
- The presence of foreign objects
All x-rays expose you to a certain level of radiation. These levels are considered safe for most. The test is not recommended for pregnant women. The radiation can harm the fetus.
Some people may also have an allergic reaction to the dye. The doctor will review any allergies you may have.
What to Expect
Prior to Test
You will be asked about your past health. If you have had pelvic inflammatory disease in the past, it is important that you share this information with your doctor.
Schedule the test within the first 10 days after your period starts. This timing will decrease the chance of disturbing an unknown pregnancy. Before the test:
Your doctor may ask you to:
- Take pain medicine or antibiotics
- Take a laxative or enema
- Have a light meal the night before. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight, unless your doctor says different.
- Wear comfortable clothes.
- Arrange for a ride to and from the test.
Description of Test
You will lie on a special x-ray table. Your feet will be in foot stirrups or pulled up to your chest. A pelvic exam will be done to check the position of the uterus. The doctor will also check for tenderness or inflammation. A device will be inserted to gently open the vagina. A tube will be passed through the cervix and into the uterus.
You will be repositioned after the tube is placed. The dye will be slowly passed through tubing into the uterus and fallopian tubes. The x-ray machine will create images that the doctor can see. The table may be tilted or you may be asked to roll from side to side for better views. The tube will be removed once all the images are taken.
You will be observed for about 30 minutes after the test. The staff will look for signs of an allergic reaction and bleeding. You will then be able to leave.
After the test, be sure to follow your doctor's instructions. You will not be able to use tampons or have sex for 48 hours after the procedure.
How Long Will It Take?
About 15-45 minutes
Will It Hurt?
You may have some discomfort and cramping during this test. If there is a blockage, it may cause more intense pain. Your doctor may order pain medicine. Medicine may also be given before the test. You may have some light cramps after the test. Medicine will help to ease discomfort.
Your doctor will talk to you about the results of the test.
Call Your Doctor
After you leave the hospital, call your doctor if any of the following occurs:
- Increased pain
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Itching, hives, or rash
- Difficulty breathing and/or swallowing
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Women's Health—US Department of Health and Human Services
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC)
Women's Health Matters
Hysterosalpingography. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq143.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20121219T1452148438. Published August 2011. Accessed February 12, 2019.
Hysterosalpingography. Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America website. Available at: http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=hysterosalp. Updated February 10, 2018. Accessed February 12, 2019.
Last reviewed February 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD Last Updated: 2/12/2019