Hysterosalpingography (HSG) is a procedure used to diagnose certain problems of the uterus and fallopian tubes. HSG most often is used to see if a woman’s tubes are partly or fully blocked.
Why Is HSG Done?
With HSG, the doctor can check for blockage or growths inside the uterus and tubes. This may help your doctor find the cause of infertility or repeated pregnancy loss (also called repeated miscarriage). HSG also is performed to detect growths or scarring inside the uterus or problems in its size or shape.
Sometimes, HSG is used a few months after sterilization procedures, such as Essure® Sterilization, to make sure that the fallopian tubes have been completely blocked.
What to Expect
HSG will be done in a special X-ray area in the hospital, clinic or doctor’s office. It is best to have HSG during the first half (days 1 to 14) of a woman’s menstrual cycle.
The Procedure
For HSG, a special fluid is placed into the uterus and tubes. The fluid shows up in contrast to these structures on an X-ray screen. This highlights their inner size and shape.
After the Procedure
Many women have minor side effects after having HSG. These are not serious and go away after a day or two in most cases. Side effects may include:

  1. Sticky vaginal discharge as some of the fluid drains out of the uterus
  2. Cramps
  3. Feeling dizzy, faint or sick to your stomach
  4. Slight vaginal bleeding

Patient’s who undergo HSG are advised not to use a tampon.
Risks and Complications
Severe problems are rare. They may include an allergic reaction to the fluid, injury to the uterus, or pelvic infection. Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:

  1. Vomiting
  2. Fainting
  3. Severe abdominal pain or cramping
  4. Heavy vaginal bleeding
  5. Fever or chills

Test Results
Your doctor will discuss the results of your HSG with you. Based on the results, further tests may be needed.
HSG is a way to diagnose problems of the uterus and fallopian tubes, or verfiy that the tubes have been blocked after sterilization. The risk of problems after HSG is low, but you should be aware of warning signs.
This excerpt from ACOG’s Patient Education Pamphlet is provided for your information. It is not medical advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for visiting your doctor. If you need medical care, have any questions, or wish to receive the full text of this Patient Education Pamphlet, please contact your obstetrician-gynecologist.
To ensure the information is current and accurate, ACOG titles are reviewed every 18 months

Copyright © November 2010 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists