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Does Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) Cause Discomfort?

By CARE Fertility on October 24, 2017

Illustration of a woman’s sexual organs, including her fallopian tubes and uterus, which are viewed in detail during HSG infertility testingAt the Center for Assisted Reproduction Embryo.net, or CARE, we proudly offer a full range of state-of-the-art diagnostic tests to help determine the root causes of our patients’ infertility. One of the most common causes of infertility is tubal factor infertility, which includes instances of scarred and completely blocked fallopian tubes. While other factors may also come into play, tubal factor infertility contributes to roughly one-quarter of all cases of infertility. For this reason, it is vital to conduct tubal factor testing, such as hysterosalpingogram, or HSG, infertility testing.

One of the questions most commonly asked of our fertility specialists is, “Does hysterosalpingogram (HSG) cause discomfort?” During consultations at our Dallas, TX fertility center, our specialists inform patients that HSG infertility testing generally does not cause pain, but that, depending on the patient, it can cause discomfort and, yes, in rare cases can result in pain. It is important that patients communicate with our doctors when they feel any discomfort during tests as this discomfort may indicate an issue that needs to be explored further.

If you are experiencing difficulties achieving pregnancy and would like to learn more about HSG infertility testing and other fertility services available at our practice, please schedule your initial consultation at CARE today.

What Is an HSG Infertility Test?

An HSG infertility test is an X-ray test that allows our doctors to achieve a detailed view of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and surrounding tissues via a thin tube inserted into the uterus through a speculum in the patient’s vagina. After a contrast material is injected into the uterus, an X-ray is taken. Further contrast material is added until the fallopian tubes fill and the material spills over into the abdominal cavity. The series of X-rays helps our doctors determine whether:

  • The fallopian tubes are blocked.
  • The uterus or fallopian tubes are abnormally shaped.
  • The uterus or fallopian tubes are scarred or otherwise injured.
  • Polyps, fibroids, adhesions, or a foreign object is present in the uterus.

The Risk of Discomfort during HSG Testing

Unfortunately, there is no surefire way of knowing whether you will experience discomfort before you actually undergo HSG testing. Some women experience very little to no discomfort whatsoever. The contrast material can cause mild-to-moderate abdominal cramping, although this usually resolves quickly after the procedure. It is best to prepare yourself for some cramping and hope for the best. Discomfort can often be minimized by taking an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen an hour or so before undergoing the test.

For women with blocked fallopian tubes, moderate discomfort or even severe pain is possible when the contrast material is injected. If you do experience severe pain, say something immediately. The tube can be withdrawn, and the pain should subside within a minute.

Women who normally experience pain during their annual gynecological exam or during sexual intercourse are more likely to experience pain during HSG testing.

Learn More about HSG Infertility Testing

To learn more about HSG infertility testing, please contact CARE today.

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