HSG or Hysterosalpingogram, also known as uterosalpingography is a radiological procedure or in the simplest idea is an X-Ray program conducted on a woman to check if her fallopian tubes and uterine cavity are open, are in good shape and are functioning normally and properly or not. It takes less than five minutes to perform the procedure, and it’s carried out in the period between menstruation and ovulation.
When a woman is unable to conceive, doctors might recommend an HSG test. For the procedure, a thin tube is injected with a harmless iodine dye to check if there’s any blockage in the fallopian tubes that is stopping the sperms from getting implanted. Empirical evidence suggests that the women who have gone through the process show a higher chance of pregnancy. Fertility is high especially in the initial three months after an HSG test.
HSGs can be carried out with both water and oil-soluble contrast medium. Studies have shown that there is a higher chance of pregnancy after HSG with an oil-soluble contrast. You can consult your specialist as to what he or she is going to use with you and why.
There’s a process known as ‘tubal flushing,’ which is basically HSG but without the X-Ray part. Empirical data suggests that there is a higher chance of conceiving right after tubal flushing with oil-soluble contrast.
According to research, tubal flushing makes a bigger impact and increases the chances of pregnancy in women who are facing problems of unexplained infertility. It also helps those with early stage endometriosis or the ones whose infertility is explained by potential immunological problems.
There is no real medical statement to explain why and how HSG tests or tubal flushing might help with infertility issues, however, there are some theories. One of these theories suggests that the iodine dye used in the procedure partially cleans out some of the blockages in women, making way for the semen to enter. Nonetheless, dye won’t be able to cut through major blockages, and hence it doesn’t work in all patients.
Another theory says that the dye has an anti-inflammatory effect and therefore, it strengthens the endometrium of the woman. Sometimes woman’s body rejects and fights male sperms, thinking them as invaders in the territory. The HSG test with its anti-inflammatory dye is believed to be making it less hostile for the incoming embryo.
One theory takes into account endometrial scratching, which means that when the catheter is inserted in the cervix of the woman, it may boost pregnancy chances by clearing the way. This method is also seen as a clearing agent by some.
Before you get all the ideas about the HSG test, let us make one point clear here – the HSG test is never used as a treatment, but only as a diagnostic tool. So don’t go in that X-Ray room with high expectations, and talk to your specialist till you are totally convinced about agreeing to an HSG.