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Trying to Get Pregnant? What you Need to Know about the HSG Test


Hi friends, today I’ll be revisiting the issue of infertility. For women who have been trying to conceive, their journey is often filled with so many questions, sometimes whose answers just cannot be found.

Women who try everything possible, do everything right, but the pregnancy test keeps turning negative; the period just keeps coming. Well, there is a test that can help provide an answer to women who have trouble conceiving, and it’s called the Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) test.

Dr. Stephen Mutiso, Obstetrician/Gynaecologist at Kenyatta National Hospital

I spoke to Dr. Stephen Mutiso, a gynaecologist and fertility expert based in Nairobi, where I asked him a few questions about the HSG test. Here are the answers to that. I hope it will help you know more about it. Share with a friend who you know would benefit from the information.

What is a HSG test?

HSG is a special x-ray done to check whether a woman’s fallopian (oviduct) tubes are clear, and also to visualize the uterus. It’s done for women who are not able to conceive and where a tubal problem is suspected. HSG is done as part of diagnostic investigations for a couple not able to conceive with regular sexual intercourse for a period of more than a year.

When is it best to do the HSG procedure?

Usually the HSG procedure is done on day 10 of the menstrual cycle; we refer this as the 10th day rule. This ensures that the test is not done when one is pregnant. It’s best to book for the test early; at the onset of the woman’s period.

Also Read: “My Trying Journey with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)” -Eve Kabiru

How is HSG done and what should the woman expect during the procedure?

HSG is done to examine the uterus and the fallopian tubes. A contrast material (dye) is pushed through the cervix. This material is supposed to fill the uterus and flow through the tubes. Serial x-rays are done as the contrast is pushed through. The purpose of this is to check for any blockages or any other problems such as scar tissue and fibroids that may be in the uterus.

To facilitate pushing of the contrast, an instrument called a speculum is inserted into the vagina to enable visualization of the cervix. A special cannula is inserted into the cervix and this cannula is used to push the contrast material into the uterus and tubes.

Can an HSG test affect your ability to get pregnant?

The test does not affect one’s ability to conceive. You can get pregnant after a HSG test. It doesn’t damage the uterus in any way. In fact, in some instances, women have conceived after HSG because the test has the potential to open up tubes blocked by small plugs.

Are there any conditions that can disqualify a woman from undergoing an HSG procedure?

HSG should not be done when a woman has active infection in the cervix, uterus and/or tubes. HSG is also contraindicated in a woman who is pregnant as it can disrupt the pregnancy.

What I Found out from Other Women’s HSG Experiences 

Other helpful information that I have collected from some women who have undergone the HSG experience that you might need to know includes the following:

  • The HSG test is widely available in major hospitals and radiology diagnostic centers.
  • The test in most facilities costs on average between Sh4,000 – Sh5,500 depending on the facility (could be higher or lower)
  • Be psychologically prepared for the process beforehand
  • You might need to take some painkillers on the day of the test as some women said that the procedure experience was painful
  • Carry a sanitary pad with you as you might spot after the procedure
  • Take the day off from work, and also don’t schedule other appointments after the procedure because of how you might be feeling afterwards (pain, cramping, spotting, discomfort, sickish etc.)
  • It’s best if you can have someone to take you home after the procedure
  • Get a second/third opinion before taking the test. Be sure that it’s a necessary procedure you need to undertake

So that’s all for this article. I hope it has expanded your knowledge on the HSG test, and how it can provide answers to a woman’s inability to conceive. If you found the article helpful, please share it with your friends. To all those trying to conceive, my prayers are with you. Also, for more information, consult with your doctor.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Dr. Stephen Mutiso is based in Nairobi at KNH Doctor’s Plaza, Suite 26/27. He can be reached on Tel: 0722 678 002 or 0788 306 674

Also Read: You’d Rather have Given Birth to a Mad Man, than Never Having Given Birth at all -Patricia’s Story

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Maryanne W. Waweru is a Kenyan mum raising her two sons in Nairobi. A journalist, Maryanne is passionate about telling stories and hopes that through her writing, her readers learn something new, feel encouraged, inspired, and appreciative of what they have in their lives. Maryanne's writing focuses on motherhood, women and lifestyle. "Telling stories is the only thing I know how to do," she says.


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