Infertility Tests: Hysterosalpingography

It is important to determine the cause of fertility issues in couples before a correcting regimen can be implemented, and this will include a number of infertility tests. One of the most common problems experienced by women dealing with infertility is blockage of the fallopian tubes. A hysterosalingography is a simple infertitlity test that can determine not only the patency of the Fallopian tubes, but the shape and health of the uterus.

What Is a Hysterosalpingography?

First used in 1914, a hysterosalpingography is simply a picture of the uterus and fallopian tubes. It is a radiologic procedure administered either in a doctor's office or in the X-ray department of a hospital. “Hystero” refers to the uterus, “salping” refers to the tubes and ovaries, and “ography” relates to the picture obtained by the procedure. A dye is introduced to the uterus and images are taken of the path of the dye by X-ray. The procedure itself generally takes little time, and many insurance policies will provide coverage for this infertility test.

What the Procedure Can Reveal

Unfortunately, many sexually transmitted diseases can be virtually undetectable in a female and can lead to damage of the fallopian tubes. Blocked fallopian tubes can also result from congenital defects or injury. The first indication of a problem may be the inability of a woman to become pregnant. Typically, physicians will rule out the most obvious reasons before initiating more complicated or expensive infertility tests.

How to Prepare for a Hystersalpingography

Since feces in the colon can interfere with the imaging, usually a laxative is administered the day before the test. Otherwise, no other preparation is necessary, unlike some infertility tests. If a woman is especially nervous about the test, a physician may prescribe a mild sedative. The X-ray will need to be scheduled for a time when a woman is not menstruating.

What to Expect

The procedure itself is relatively painless, and a woman will feel no more uncomfortable than during a typical gynecological exam. There may be some cramping after the test as the uterus expels the dye. A speculum is inserted, the dye is administered through the cervix, and an X-ray is taken. A preliminary report may be available immediately, however, it may be two to four days before a final report is received.

The Results

It has been reported that some women can experience a pregnancy after a hysterosalpingography, for reasons unknown. The results of infertility tests are carefully considered by an infertility specialist, and even in the case of occluded or blocked fallopian tubes, minor surgery can correct this problem. A hysterosalpingography is often the first step taken before other infertility tests are ordered and can provide a reason for infertility in women. It is actually one of the less invasive and simpler infertility tests and should be administered before more complicated procedures are ordered.

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