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What is a hysterosalpingogram (HSG)?

A hysterosalpingogram (pronouced ‘hystero-sal-ping-o-gram’ or HSG for short) is a test performed on ladies to determine if there is a clear path from the ovaries to the uterus.  If a woman is having trouble becoming pregnant or if her doctor wants to rule out a few possible issues, the HSG test can help.  Test results are immediate and the procedure is done very quickly without the patient having to have a more invasive procedure like laparoscopic surgery.


The HSG test, which is usually done at the radiology department of a hospital, is done while the patient is awake.  The doctor will use a speculum to open the patient’s vagina.  Then, the cervix will be opened using a small tube, and a special dye will be inserted into the uterus.  As the uterus fills up the dye will continue to spread into the fallopian tubes and toward the ovaries.   During this short time, a series of x-rays are taken.  The dye is specially designed to show up on x-rays, which means doctors will be able to see where the dye is flowing and where it is not.  This HSG test can help find polyps, scar tissue, fibroids, or other growths that may be interfering with pregnancy.

Some women find the test only mildly uncomfortable.  Others will find they experience moderate to severe cramping, especially for the first few minutes.  An anti-inflammatory or general pain killer might be prescribed before or after your test, so it might be a good idea to have someone else drive you home that day.

The HSG test is not ideal for every patient.  It is important to know what medications you are on and also if you have an IUD.

Posted in Procedures

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