Having a hysterosalpingogram


You have been advised to have a Hysterosalpingogram. This is an x-ray procedure to examine your uterus and fallopian tubes.

This page contains important information about:

  • the preparation for the procedure
  • what to expect during the procedure
  • specific advice following the procedure

What is an Hysterosalpingogram?

A Hysterosalpingogram is an x-ray procedure to view the inside of the uterus and fallopian tubes.

What are the benefits of having a Hysterosalpingogram?

The x-ray pictures can show if there are any abnormalities in your uterus, as well as if there are any problems in the tubes such as a blockage. If you are having a sterilisation reversal, the point at which the tube is blocked can be seen.

Are there any alternatives?

Alternatives to this procedure would involve a small operation. You will need to discuss this with your referring doctor or Gynaecologist.

Preparation for your Hysterosalpingogram

Before the procedure

Details of the Hysterosalpingogram may have been discussed with you at your Gynaecology outpatient appointment. This procedure will only be done between day 5 and 10 of your menstrual cycle, counting the first day of your period as day 1. This is to ensure that there is no possibility that you are pregnant, and that your period is complete.

Timing the procedure correctly may take a number of months:

  • It is important that you telephone the x-ray department on 01709 426307 on the first day of your period.
  • The x-ray department will attempt to give you a date for the procedure within the 5 days.
  • If the procedure cannot be carried out during this monthly cycle, you will then be asked to repeat phoning on the first day of your next period and further periods until a suitable date is arranged

 You may eat and drink normally before the procedure. Please do not wear any jewellery, which may interfere with the examination. You can take any medications that you are prescribed. In some cases, the Gynaecology department may have requested further preparation. This will have been discussed with you, if needed.

The procedure

On arrival at the x-ray department you will be asked to change into an examination gown. Your details will be checked and this will include asking you details of your monthly menstrual cycle. Please tell the nurse, radiographer or Radiologist (x-ray doctor) if you:

  • have any allergies
  • have had previous reaction to x-ray contrast media
  • are taking any medicines
  • if you have had any vaginal infection since being referred for the procedure by the Gynaecologist

The person who is performing the procedure will be a specially trained nurse or a Radiologist. They will explain the procedure to you and allow you to ask any questions. After being given an explanation of what to expect you will be asked whether you are willing to proceed with the procedure. You will be asked to provide a urine sample. This will be tested as a ‘pregnancy test’.

You will be asked to lie on an x-ray table, in the position used for a pelvic examination and you are examined as you are for cervical screening. The Radiologist or nurse will clean your labia (folds of skin around your vaginal opening) and insert a speculum into your vagina.

A speculum is an instrument that allows the doctor or nurse to see your cervix, which is the opening to the uterus (womb). A catheter, which is a thin plastic tube is then placed just inside the cervix. This catheter is then used to inject contrast media into your uterus and tubes. Contrast media is used because it can be easily seen inside the body when an x-ray picture is taken.

Once the x-rays are taken, the instruments are removed from your vagina and you will be provided with a sanitary towel. The x-ray contrast media is a clear sticky fluid and will drain out of your vagina. Once the procedure is completed, you may get dressed and go home.

Will it hurt?

Some patients feel some discomfort during the procedure, at the time when the contrast media is passed into the uterus. This has been described as cramp type period pains. However, the discomfort only lasts for a short period of time and usually subsides when the procedure is complete. If the pain gets worse afterwards, you should contact your GP or the hospital straight away.

How long will the procedure last?

The procedure will take about 15 to 30 minutes, although this may be a little longer in some cases.

After the procedure

You may resume normal activities. The procedure will not affect your ability to drive

After the procedure, some people experience mild cramp type pains, and vaginal spotting of blood, for 1 to 2 days. The nurse will discuss this with you in more detail before you leave the department.

When am I given the results?

The results will be sent to the consultant Gynaecologist who referred you for the procedure, who will discuss them with you at your next outpatient appointment.

Possible risks of the examination

A Hysterosalpingogram is a safe, well tolerated procedure, but very rarely, complications may occur. These include infection, or flare up of an old infection and/or bleeding for which antibiotics may need to be prescribed.

Also very rarely injury to the uterus may occur which may require surgery.

The risk of allergy to X-Ray contrast media is very rare, but if you develop itching, a skin rash or breathlessness, it is important to contact a doctor straight away.

Any pain or spotting of blood should subside within 1 to 2 days. If the bleeding lasts more than 2 days, you have worsening pain or develop a fever or chills, you should contact your GP or the hospital straight away.

How to contact us

Clinical Radiology Department
B level, Rotherham Hospital

Telephone: 01709 426307 - for general enquires about your appointment

Telephone:01709 427086 - for enquiries about preparation for your examination, or to speak to a nurse

You may reach an answering machine. Please leave your contact number, and the nurse will phone you back between the hours of 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Produced by the Radiology Department, December 2002. Version: 9.0
Revised May 2003, May 2008, July 2009, June 2010, May 2013, October 2015, January 2019, April 2020, August 2022. 
Revision due August 2024. ©The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust 2022. All rights reserved.

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