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Does HSG help Diagnose Blocked Fallopian Tubes? Here’s What You Need to Know

Updated on December 30, 2019

In 2018, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR), which is average number of births per woman during lifetime, was approximately 2.4 globally, according to statistics released by Population Reference Bureau (PRB). It was 2.5 in 2017. Fertility rates have been declining, since the past few decades.

Reasons for this are numerous in women. Socially, this can be attributed to a rise in awareness about the ills of early pregnancies, access to better contraception methods and increasing number of women choosing careers over motherhood.

Medically speaking, Tubal Factor Infertility or blocked fallopian tubes is a common cause of infertility in women. This condition contributes to 25 -35% of female infertility cases, according to The American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

However, there are tests to diagnose this condition and rectify it under medical supervision.

What is HSG?
An HSG test determines if your fallopian tubes are blocked. An open fallopian tube is required for the fertilized eggs to pass to the uterus leading to implantation.

This test is performed after your periods and before ovulation, in which an X-ray is done to have a look at your uterus and the condition of the uterine tubes. If you are not being able to achieve pregnancy, HSG is one of the first tests you have to go through. The process does not take more than 30-40 minutes in most cases.

HSG Test – How is it done?

Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is usually a painless procedure but, the doctor could give you Ibuprofen or other painkillers. The HSG test procedure begins with a pelvic exam by entering a speculum inside the vagina. Next, the healthcare professional will insert a thin catheter into the uterus through the cervix along with an iodine based dye.

This is a radio opaque contrast material through which the shapes of the tubes and uterus are visible. The dye is supposed to flow through the uterus and the fallopian tubes, into the pelvic cavity. If the movement is restricted at any point or you experience substantial pain, chances are you have a tubal blockage.

What to Expect After the Test

After the HSG test is completed, you could feel mild cramping. In most cases, women recover quickly and are able to get back to their normal activities. A small percentage of patients can also conceive after the test because the die opens up the blockage.

However, if you start experiencing heavy bleeding, vaginal discharge with strong, unpleasant odor, frequent vomiting, high fever and severe cramps in the abdominal area, make sure you seek medical help immediately.

Test Result – What Does It Detect
An HSG Test helps doctors understand if the shape of the uterus is normal or not. If not, these abnormalities can be corrected with surgeries. A deformed uterus is often the cause of failed pregnancies.

Apart from this, the structure of the fallopian tubes are also examined to check if the tubes are partially or completely blocked.

Detecting the root cause of infertility can go a long way to help you improve your condition and hopefully let you deliver a healthy child in future. Get in touch with a qualified gynaecologist to know more about your options.

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