HSG Test Side Effects – Risks, What to Expect, Advantages

HSG Test Side Effects

The hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is a form of abdominal X-ray that determines the health of the fallopian tubes. If fallopian tubes are obstructed, the pair may have difficulty conceiving; in situations of infertility, it is necessary to verify whether the tubes are accessible or not. HSG test helps look into miscarriages caused by uterine anomalies, including tumor masses, adhesions, and uterine fibroids.  Here, we will find out about HSG test side effects when going through the process of examining.

What is the Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)?

HSG is the diagnostic X-Ray technology that utilizes around 20 minutes to complete. It’s generally done about 10-12 days following menstruation, just before ovulation. It is an outpatient procedure.

How to prepare for the HSG test?

Because HSG should not be performed on a pregnant woman, the doctor will typically ask about her medical history, including any allergies she may have. Any allergies should be disclosed since the dye used here in treatment can produce severe responses in those allergic to it.

Inflammatory disorders, such as persistent pelvic infections or an uncontrolled sexually transmitted illness, need immediate reporting with this treatment. Doctors suggest using contraceptive tablets during the cycle whenever they follow the fallopian tube test to avoid pregnancy since the dye may harm the growing fetus.

Patients often need to take antibiotics to avoid infection and pain relief to help them relax throughout the surgery.

HSG Test Side Effects

Potential dangers of HSG

An HSG test generally takes 10 to 30 minutes and happens inside a radiology facility.

A speculum will be inserted into your vagina (similar to a Pap smear), and a tiny plastic tube will be placed into your cervix, leading to your uterus and fallopian tubes. Through the plastic tube, the doctor will inject a type of dye. The dye must fill the uterus and fallopian tubes to spilling out of each one.

Following that, your doctor can take x-rays to check your uterus and fallopian tubes. Finally, find out more about the HSG process.

The reason why HSG test side effects can happen is not knowing if a lady is already pregnant. It is harmful to the baby already growing in her body. Below we will find out about the impact that it can have on the patient.

What is a hysterosalpingogram?

Hysterosalpingography examines the uterus and fallopian tubes using fluoroscopy, a real-time x-ray technique.

A lady is seated on a table beneath a fluoroscope (the x-ray imager that may take images during the examination). After that, the doctor checks the patient’s uterus and inserts a speculum into her vaginal canal.

Her cervix is cleansed, as well as a cannula inserted into the cervix’s opening. An iodine-containing liquid (an x-ray-visible fluid) is gently pumped into the cannula.

As the liquid passes from the cannula, through the uterus, and down the fallopian tubes, its contrast appears white on the picture, revealing the shape of the uterus.

If the tubes face obstruction, the dye will not flow through, causing the tubes to enlarge; a condition known as hydrosalpinx.

After the HSG, any woman can resume regular activities right away, although she should avoid intercourse for a few days.

HSG test

Is HSG painful?

For roughly an hour, an HSG induces mild to severe cramping pain. Some women, however, may have cramps that last many hours. Medications for menstrual cramps, such as pain relievers, can substantially decrease these symptoms before or during the operation. However, every woman worries about the test and wonders if the fallopian tube test is unpleasant.

The amount of pain experienced during this HSG test varies. Some women may experience mild cramping. Some women have no feelings at all, so only a tiny percentage suffer significant discomfort and cramps.

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Furthermore, virtually every woman undergoing a tube test exhibits a dread of discomfort. Women who have had prior pelvic infections or clogged tubes have higher pain.

Is the HSG test good for pregnancy detection?

Women who are getting this test may have clogged tubes. The block may open following the HSG test if it’s weak or new.

In addition, the patient may become pregnant following the fallopian tube test in certain instances. Antibiotics may aid in the recovery of affected tissues if administered before the tube test.

Is it possible to use HSG to unblock clogged tubes?

After the test, blocked tubes are much less likely to open. However, flushing dye into the tube can sometimes eliminate thin tissue blockage.

After injecting the dye, tubes might sometimes spasm. This might provide an image of the obstruction in both tubes. However, after about an hour, these tubes relax and resume normal function.

HSG test side effects

HSG is thought to be a reasonably risk-free technique. However, minor or major problems might occur in fewer than 1% of this time. Prolonged radiation exposure always carries a small risk of cancer. The value of a correct diagnosis, on the other hand, significantly outweighs the danger.

This procedure’s effective radiation dosage varies. Therefore, during x-ray exams, special care is made to employ the most negligible radiation while generating the finest pictures for evaluation.

Let the doctor or technologist know before the operation to minimize infection worsening. It is a significant concern if you have a persistent inflammatory illness, a pelvic infection, or an untreated sexually transmitted disease.

Whether there is any chance that a woman is pregnant, she should always tell her doctor or x-ray technician. The following are some of the HSG test adverse effects:

1. Pelvic infection

It is one of the most common HSG test side effects. This generally happens when a lady has had a tubal illness in the past (such as the past infection of chlamydia). In rare circumstances, the infection might cause damage to the fallopian tubes, necessitating their removal. In addition, if a woman develops increased discomfort or a temperature within 1-2 days after the HSG, she should contact her doctor.

2. Fainting

Some women can get light-headed during or immediately after the operation and pass out due to a vasovagal episode.

3. Iodine Allergy

A woman’s allergy to the iodine contrasts used in HSG is uncommon. If a woman is allergic to intravenous dyes, iodine, or shellfish, she should tell her doctor. The HSG technique should be conducted without using an iodine-containing contrasting solution if a woman is allergic to iodine. After the operation, a woman should call her doctor if she develops itching, rash, or swelling.

4. Spotting

After HSG, spotting might occur for 1-2 days. If a woman suffers severe bleeding following HSG, she should contact her doctor unless otherwise directed.

Itchy groin area female

Only the interior of the uterus and fallopian tubes is seen during Hysterosalpingography. MRI or ultrasound can help check for abnormalities in the ovaries, uterine wall, and other pelvic tissues.

Alternatively, a surgical technique called laparoscopy helps see the tubes directly, which would be more accurate for the fallopian tube test. Furthermore, laparoscopy is more effective in diagnosing PCOS in women who have hormone abnormalities and insulin resistance.

As a result, these women might be pregnant by following weight-loss recommendations. In addition, women with PCOS can benefit from a balanced diet that includes fewer carbs, lean proteins, and no Tran’s fat. PCOD is linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, and excessive blood sugar levels, among other health issues.

Hysterosalpingography revealing blocked tubes

Patients may have their tubes re-evaluated by laparoscopy or need to pursue IVF. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a method that can circumvent the tubes’ function and result in pregnancy in instances when the tubes face obstruction.


Hysterosalpingography complications are uncommon. The following are some of the potential dangers:

  • A response to the contrast dye
  • Infection of the endometrium (uterine lining) or the fallopian tube
  • Perforation of the uterus is one example of uterine damage

What to do after completing the test?

You may have cramping comparable to those seen during a menstrual period after the test. It’s also possible that you’ll have vaginal discharge or minor vaginal bleeding. To avoid infection, use a napkin instead of a tampon during this period.

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Following the test, some women experience dizziness and nausea. These are adverse effects that will fade with time. However, you should contact your doctor if you develop any infection-related symptoms like:

  • Fever
  • Terrible cramps and agony
  • Vaginal discharge with a foul odor
  • Fainting
  • Vaginal bleeding is severe
  • Vomiting

The radiologist will email the results to your doctor when the test is completed. But the HSG test side effects can be minimal. Your doctor will discuss the results and suggest what to do next. Your doctor may wish to perform follow-up exams or request further testing based on the results.

Precautions for HSG test

After your menstruation but before ovulation, you can do an HSG test. This is to lower the probability of getting the test when pregnant. According to your health clinic or doctor, call the radiology institution to schedule the test on the first day of your menstruation.

The HSG is done while you are awake, without the use of general anesthesia. As a result, you won’t have to fast the night before or the day before.

On the day of the test, the doctor may advise you to take an ibuprofen-like pain reliever one hour before your HSG. This may alleviate some of the test’s pain. Certain doctors also prescribe antibiotics to minimize the risk of infections.

You’ll generally sit on a table with stirrups. If they do not have any stirrups, you’ll have to lie down on the table, bow at the knees, with the feet (kind of) flat mostly on the table and your legs spread apart.

Examining the Pelvis

The doctor will perform a brief pelvic exam. Then, a speculum will be inserted into your vagina by the nurse, technician, or doctor. This is the identical metal instrument that your gynecologist will use during your annual exam.

This may be uncomfortable for you if you feel discomfort throughout your annual checkup. In addition, women in pain during sexual activity may face discomfort during gynecological exams.

X-Ray Preparation

Over your belly will be the x-ray equipment. With the speculum and your knees raised, the position might be a little uncomfortable to test. After that, they’ll clean the cervix with a swab. The process helps lessen the chances of infection. This may be a little achy if your cervix is tough to temperature, but most women do not suffer pain.

They will next place a cannula, a plastic tube, into the cervical hole. This feels similar to the pap smear and could be a bit unsettling. But, on the other hand, you might not feel anything at all.

Dye Injection

Finally, they infuse the tube with an iodine-based dye. You can feel warmth whenever administering the dye. This dye will pass through the uterus, through your fallopian tubes (whether they are open), and into your pelvic cavity.

When the doctor inserts the dye, you may feel uncomfortable due to clogged tubes. If you start to feel uneasy, call your doctor immediately away.

X-ray performed

Your doctor takes x-rays after injecting the dye. You’ll not be able to take a breath for a few moments before each x-ray image. After that, you might need to switch over. For example, you might need to lie down on one side.

However, with the speculum inside and the x-ray above you, you could feel uneasy. Your doctor is aware of your situation. If you require assistance, ask for it.

When the doctor finds the images alright, they will raise the x-ray apparatus and withdraw the spectrum. Then, you have complete freedom to return home.

Taking Care of HSG Discomfort

With this enormous x-ray machine hovering above you as you’re lying on your legs apart, back, with the speculum inside, the exam can be nerve-wracking. You might have to turn over to the side after an x-ray and two by the doctor or nurse, and you must do so with the speculum remaining between your legs.

Is there an alternative to the HSG Test?

Many women are afraid of this test since it is painful and exposes them to radiation. As a result, they frequently look for an alternate test to assess the fallopian tubes. However, the best way to examine the fallopian tubes is through a laparoscopy.

Along with the tubes, it may assess the status of the uterus, ovaries, and pelvis. It displays all of the pelvic organs in real-time. The process marks the gold standardized method for tubal function, even though it is expensive and needs anesthetic. As a result, there will be fewer chances of  HSG test side effects.