From WebMD: During a hysterosalpingogram, a dye (contrast material) is put through a thin tube that is put up into the uterus. Because the uterus and the fallopian tubes are hooked together, the dye will flow into the fallopian tubes. Pictures are taken using a steady beam of X-ray (fluoroscopy) as the dye passes through the uterus and fallopian tubes. The pictures can show problems such as an injury or abnormal structure of the uterus or fallopian tubes, or a blockage that would prevent an egg moving through a fallopian tube to the uterus.
I had my first HSG in 2004 when we first began infertility testing. We had been trying to conceive for just under a year. Although the tubes were open and clear, it was not a great experience. At the very least, the procedure can be awfully uncomfortable. At most, it is highly painful. Without going into too much detail, I "popped the balloon" and had to start the whole procedure over, which was even worse the second time around.
This time, I mentioned my balloon popping experience to the nurse. She said that she had never heard of that happening before, and that it must be very rare, which made me feel better.
She took an x-ray of my pelvis and left to get the doctor. I studied my x-ray on the screen, and noticed three white spots on the left side of the screen. Interesting... I wondered what those were.
Soon enough, the doctor came in and proceeded to get things ready. He asked me if I had any questions and I asked what those white spots were in my pelvis on the screen. He told me that they were gas bubbles in my bowel and were normal. I tried not to die. I just pointed out, and asked about, potential farts! So embarrassing, especially because he was young, and not-too-shabby-looking. :-/
So we began the procedure. The doctor and nurse were chatting it up about Twilight and first loves. I put my two cents in, but mostly concentrated on breathing. It was a bit painful, but not unbearable. Once everything was in position, the doctor walked around to the side of the bed with the syringe that held the dye solution. He pointed the screen towards me a bit so I could watch and began pressing the syringe slowly.
The catheter was pointed towards my right tube which filled up easily and we watched the dye spill out on the screen. The left tube remained empty. The doctor moved the catheter to point towards the left side. He mentioned that the dye would continue to flow towards the right side, as that is the easiest place for it to go, where the dye was already flowing.
He said he needed to push hard on the syringe to get the dye flowing the opposite direction and flood the left tube. He told me to take a deep breath and he pushed the syringe. Oh my gosh, the pain! My entire body instantly broke out in a sweat and I felt like I was going to throw up. The nurse ran to get a cold compress. But, sure enough, the left tube filled and spilled over. Success!
Afterward, the doctor told me not to worry about the difficulty with the left tube. Sometimes, the catheter forms a suction and it takes some pressure to start it up again. He assured me that both tubes are empty, clear and completely normal!
The nurse made me lay there for a while afterward with the compress on my face. Apparently, when the doctor pushed the dye through quickly, my face had gone white and I guess I hadn't quite recovered yet. She didn't want me passing out trying to get up. After a while, I slowly got up, changed clothes, and it was all over.
I was so fortunate that Ryan had the day off. He was able to go with me and wait in the waiting room. He was so sweet and supportive. Afterwards, he took me to get a Slurpee (it sounded SO good). We picked up some yummy Mexican food and went home. After lunch, I took a long nap. Not a bad day overall!
I will have a follow-up appointment with Dr S to confirm the test results. If today is any indication, it appears we are on track to begin treatments at summer's end.
In the meantime, Dr S emphasized that we have the greatest chance of getting pregnant on our own within few months following the HSG. Forcing dye through the tubes 'cleans them out' and may open them up a bit. So, on the advice of the doc, we are going to try on our own for a few months while we wait to begin treatment. We aren't too hopeful, but we are willing to give it a go!