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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The whole truth

HSG Friday 11am.

I need you to be completely honest with me. How painful was your HSG? I was volunteered no information when I called to book, just given a time and place. When pressed, I was told to take 2 painkillers a couple of hours beforehand. Is that it? Is there any other preparation I should do? Will I be able to drive home? Return to work? TTC?

Thank you.


At 10:36 PM, Anonymous lisau said...

Feebee... Ovusoft.com had feedback for someone about to undergo an HSG and the common after effects sited were pain,pressure & spotting.From another fertility site (Fertility Plus) a procedure description & feedback from people who have had it done...warning..long!

" Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) - $200-$700

What is a hysterosalpingogram and why is it needed?

A hysterosalpingogram is where dye is injected into the uterus to look for anatomic problems, such as tube patency (if they are open), fibroids, polyps, or structural problems with the uterine cavity. This test is usually done in the first half of a woman's cycle, between days 7-10. A small catheter is inserted through the cervix in order to inject the dye, or, in some places, a balloon catheter is used to push dye through the cervix without actially threading anything through it. You'll be expected to turn a little as the doctor / radiologist takes pictures or views the process through something that looks a lot like an ultrasound. It should only last about 5 minutes. Some cramping and discomfort is common during the procedure and for a little while afterward. Also, some spotting is to be expected. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics and suggest a painkiller be taken. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are allergic to shellfish. Women taking metformin (brand name Glucophage or GlucophageXR) should discuss whether the medication should be discontinued for a couple of days before the procedure.

The hysterosalpingogram is usually better for checking whether tubes are open than the sonohysterogram, where the other is probably better for checking for fibroids and polyps.

What should I expect when I have a hysterosalpingogram? How will it feel?

I had my HSG on Wednesday and I would have to say it is somewhat uncomfortable, but not that bad. I'd liken it to period cramps that last about 5 minutes. I actually had very little problem while I was getting to watch the dye move through, but because of certain activities (including the power being out during all of this!!!!) I didn't get to see the dye flow through both tubes. I was left on the table for a minute while the radiologist went to check the still films he took, and I started panicking a little. I was supposed to be able to have my DH in the room, but at the last minute he was kicked out so an extra tech with a flashlight could assist the doctor. So between my not being there and not having seen the dye move all the way through one of the tubes I tensed and that's when I had the most cramping. When I relaxed, it let up (luckily my doctor is very calming). I did have some more cramping when I got up from the table, but it was all over before I finished dressing. I would say I easily could have gone back to work if I wanted to, and the day after the HSG I went hiking in the woods and along the rock-bound coast of Maine with no discomfort.

For 2 weeks I have been so afraid of this day. This will be the day that will tell me if I have more obstacles ahead of me. I am scheduled to be at the Outpatient Diagnostic Center at Norfolk Sentara at 1230 today.

I got to the hospital 15 minutes early and went to radiology. Ok so I had to find the right department. I found the correct department. Checked in with the receptionist after that we did the normal payment paperwork. I was shown to the waiting area. That was the longest wait of my life. I was scheduled for the procedure at 1245. It was 115 before I was sent to the dressing room. I was given a gown and a robe. I took the robe into the dressing room. It did not fit. I went in the closest room and asked for another gown. There was a nurse and a patient in there. Oops! But, I got another gown. The restroom I changed in was dirty but I did finally get changed. I stood in the dressing hall way waiting for some one for close to 10 minutes. Finally a nurse came to get me. She took me into the room and had me sit down. One of the doctors from the Jones Institute came over to do the HSG. He had me sign the form for the Jones Institute. I guess he had to make sure he got his money too. I had to laugh at that.

The doctor was great and explained everything to me as it happened. I laid on a x-ray table and he inserted the speculum cold and uncomfortable not too bad. He pinched my cervix and that started the dull cramping. He got the tube in and pulled out the speculum. The cramping was very noticeable by then and I had to hold myself still so that I would not rock. The radiologist came in and the doctor from the Jones Institute injected the dye as the radiologist captured it on the film. I had to turn to the left and the right this took all of three minutes once the radiologist was in the room. The radiologist left and he removed the tube. At first I just laid there as the pain increased and it was accompanied by pressure on my rectum. I had never heard of that before. The doctor had the films on the screen and showed me each one. The films show that I have perfect tubes and a perfectly shaped uterus with no noticeable adhesions.

The doctor left and I stayed there flat for a few seconds. The nurse said I could take my time. I did. I slowly sat up and I had to lie back down. Then I sat up again and leaned back down. I did this for a few seconds. One thing that helped a lot was an elevated butterfly position with my legs and leaning into the opening. For some reason that relieved the pressure. It was difficult to get to the restroom and change. I had minor spotting and had to take a vicadin after getting dressed. It felt a lot better to stand and walk than to sit. It has been 10 hours and there is still minor cramping and the bleeding has stopped. Over all the procedure was not horrible but I would not want to do it every cycle.

I had HSG done twice. In the first one (before my surgery for a fibroid) one of my tubes had minimal passage. Also the radiologist was somewhat harsh. I felt very uncomfortable and had severe discomfort in my stomach (actually did -sorry- threw up) after the HSG.

In the second one the blocking on my tube had gone after the operation, and my OB performed it herself. She is very nice. I had mild discomfort, and if I had not had the bad experience the first time, I would not mind at all.

I was told the solution they inject may be different on each occasion and that may also make a difference. BTW, all this took place abroad, it may be easier here.

I just had one done last week. I'm the world's biggest coward when it comes to medical procedures, and it didn't help that my Dr went on and on about how painful it is. But I took about 3 Ibuprofen and it was fine -- just mild cramping. My dh came with me and got me involved in a conversation to distract me -- this helped a lot too, I think.

I had an HSG, they found my tubes were clear - but I had a lot of pain during the procedure. It was worse than very bad cramps and I felt light headed during and immediately after the procedure. I wish someone had warned me it could be that bad - but I know it's not the same for everyone. My gyno prescribed antibiotics ahead of time, and taking Advil may help a little as well (before and after).

I had one in April---for me it was very painful, BUT only for five minutes (I may have a blocked tube, which they say makes it more painful---but, because it was so painful they can't be sure my tube was blocked because I may have had a muscle spasm which blocked the dye.) good news---I didn't feel any pain as soon as it was finished (unlike endometrial biopsy)

Well, yesterday I had my HSG.

I tried to stay as calm as possible, knowing that I had had a painkiller, that it could hurt very much or not at all and that I wanted to know the results badly. But because my tubes were infected twice (10 years ago) I was pretty much convinced that my tubes were blocked, and that would make the procedure more painful......

I just hoped that it wouldn't be too bad, and that it would clearly show that though my tubes were blocked my womb was ok (as a DES daughter I have a bigger chance of deformations in that area).

Though the pain was not the nicest thing ever done to me, it was comparable to a heavy period (in other words: I could handle it well enough). And than the radiologist congratulated me: my womb was fine and my *tubes were clear*.

I was absolutely flabbergasted. I mean: the past 10 years I was convinced that my tubes were blocked. I actually was a bit pissed off that they wanted me to undergo this painful procedure since it was already so clear that I needed at least a laparoscopy (I can be very stubborn.... fortunately I decided to not tell them till afterwards.....).

And now I have these very ambivalent feelings. On one hand I am thrilled that my tubes are all right, on the other I am worried. Blocked tubes was such an easy, detectable cause. Now I am real uncertain about what causes the infertility. But I keep telling myself that I should be really exited and happy, since blocked tubes would most probably be worse. The main feeling I have is still surprise though, because I just was utterly convinced that I knew what was going on.

(The Netherlands)

This may sound crazy, but my gyn put a bedpan upside-down under my hips for the HSG and it was perfect! It flattened my back against the table so that everything was level and it was easy to maneuver around to get the right angle. She did lie about the pain though...she prompted me about everything except the actual dye injection which was the most painful part! I think the nurse's hand is still healing.

Why is it that every thing I found published about HSGs started out with ..."although somewhat painful..." *somewhat*? After the initial pain of the opening of the cervix, I though great this is going pretty well. Then, the dye. My Dr. did not prepare me for this at all. Just said I needed to schedule the procedure.

The nurses at the lab were great. I don't know if they had been through this at all, at least they were more supportive than the male scheduler.

Oh well, after the intense pain during the procedure, I didn't have much more, just a dull ache that finally went away after about 24 - hours (on the way by car to my DH's 20-year high school reunion). No prescriptions - just Advil. I did find that walking helped in one or two ways: 1) actually eased the pain, or 2) took my mind off of the pain and onto to something else. Either way it's over.

I recently posted the same HSG question & received a tremendous number of responses, good and bad. Last Friday I had my HSG & the worst part about it was the worrying all day long. Once I got to the hospital & changed into the gown, the whole procedure lasted about ten minutes. Some people mentioned things like cervical clamps & Novacaine, & some even recommended asking for a prescription of Valium, so I was a little worried. I took 4 Advil. My doctor inserted the speculum, opened it a little wider than usual, & washed off my cervix with Betadine. He then fed through a very skinny catheter, narrower than a swizzle stick. It was a little uncomfortable, but certainly not painful. Even when the dye was injected, all I felt was a little pressure. He injected the oil based dye once we saw my tube was open, again, just a little pressure. It was definitely worth having done. Now I at least have a little glimmer of hope after my November 95 ectopic. Make sure your RE uses the oil dye - it's the one that's supposed to increase chances of pg for three months!

My HSG was not too bad either, mind you, not something I would want to repeat! I took 3 Advils 1/2 hour before hand. Had some cramping and slight bleeding afterwards. I was truly terrified after reading some of the posts here. I guess everyone handles pain differently. My doctor performed the procedure which helped me relax even more.

Mine (last Monday) was truly a piece of cake. They could do it every week and I wouldn't mind (except for the time and the cost). I took 2 600 mg Motrin about 1/2 hr before (which isn't a lot of time for the Motrin to kick in). They numbed my cervix, which was the worst of the pain and when I cramped a little they slowed down and then it was ok. It also was pretty fast.

Also, my doc said that the HSG by itself increases fertility (sometimes) if it is the oil kind (not water). I don't know by what percent but apparently the effect lasts about 6 months. (Obviously this is if everything checks checks out normally, there are eggs and so on.)

My HSG was kind of a nightmare. I forgot to take the therapeutic dose of advil that they had recommended to take before the test, and boy did I pay for it! I had cramping for 2 days. Some of it may have been caused from the depression that set in when I found out that both of my tubes were blocked! What was also a horror was when my OB/GYN looked at me, in front of a technician and a nurse and asked me if I ever had chlamidia, ghonareah or any other STD, and said oh, don't worry they are doing amazing things with IVF. I was horrified! No, I've never had any of those diseases and I was shocked that she would ask me that in front of other people. I had to be consoled by the nurse who said that it could because my tubes cramped up or something else.

Anyhow, the one good thing that came out of it was she recommended me to see my RE, who is wonderful! I also started doing some research and found out that tubes can be blocked by just about anything, including appendicitis, which I had in 1993. My appendix was gangrenous and was within hours of exploding.

Will having a hysterosalpingogram effect my chances of getting pregnant? If so why and for how long?

Supposedly an HSG can increase your chances of getting pregnant for the first 3 cycles after the procedure. I've seen some people say it ups your odds of success per cycle to about 30% because it "blows out the cobwebs" in the tubes.

Yes, it worked for me! The first time I got pregnant was 2 months after an HSG (which showed the tubes were clear) and the second time the month after my LAP (where they also insert dye into your tubes - tubes were still open). Those were the only 2 times I was pregnant. Unfortunately the first pregnancy ended in miscarriage and the second one was an ectopic (so there must be something wrong with my tubes after all), but what matters is that pregnancy really does happen more frequently after an HSG.


Yep, our little guy was conceived the same month that I had the HSG. I researched it and found that studies had shown a significant number of women who had HSG became pregnant within the next few months. They were unsure why - speculation ran from it cleared out small blockages to it changed the ph level in some way.

My RE told me when I had my HSG 2 years ago that the reason why it makes you more fertile afterwards is because the dye makes the cilia stand up and therefore is able to grasp the egg and make it travel easier down the tube.*

O.k..Hope that helps some...amongst my little buddy group at Fertilityfriend (7 women) 3 have had it and none had a terrible experience but all did have cramping & spotting. Definitely take that Advil & as you most likely have clear tubes hopefully it won't be too bad.

Take care,

At 1:54 AM, Blogger PortLairge said...

Hi Feebee
I took a couple of ibuprofen and a valium. I think it's great to have the valium if you can get it but in hind site I didn't really need it. I don't think you should go back to work because the cramping is slightly uncomfortable. All in all I didn't have any trouble with it.

At 3:01 PM, Blogger Just another Jenny said...

Hi, I just found your site from Tertia's blog list.

I found my HSG about the same as PMS cramping. Take the day off if you can, you'll be a little uncomfortable.

At 12:45 PM, Blogger Feebee said...

Thanks for all the info girls. I'm not really worried about it, just want to be prepared.

Jenny - I've seen you around before, probably on Beth's (Prop your hips) blog. Nice to meet you and will keep an eye on you - your wedding pics are gorgeous!


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