Getting pregnant could be extremely difficult if something goes wrong with the reproductive system.
The ovaries, uterus, and the fallopian tubes all need to be in good working condition to allow pregnancy to occur and ease the delivery of the baby.
The fallopian tubes perform a very important function in the reproduction process. For conception to happen, the fallopian tubes have to be open to allow the sperm to reach the eggs.
And if the sperm is able to fertilize the egg but can’t get to the uterus because of a blocked fallopian tube, you wouldn’t get pregnant.
Blocked fallopian tubes are a condition that is caused by a lot of factors. Fortunately, with the aid of a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) test, your doctor may be able to provide you with the solution to the problem.
What is HSG?
A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is a procedure that involves using X-ray to look at your fallopian tubes and uterus. This helps to determine the shape of the uterus and decide whether or not the fallopian tubes are partly or fully blocked.
HSG test is usually one of the first fertility tests to be carried out on a woman having trouble conceiving. The test is also recommended for women who have had one or more miscarriages.
Related: Cost of IVF Treatment in South Africa
HSG Test Cost in South Africa
The cost of an HSG test in South Africa is about R$ 740 – R$ 1,480. Depending on your location, the diagnostic centre or hospital where you do the test, you would get it at a really affordable or expensive price.
When choosing a fertility clinic or hospital to carry out the test, make sure you go for the renowned and trusted clinics as they have better equipment and personnel to provide you with the best diagnosis.
Some of the top diagnosis centres are located in the major cities of South Africa such as Durban and Benin.
In Durban, you can get the HSG test done in teaching hospitals and in fertility clinics like Nordica and Bridge. However, the price of the test in fertility clinics is usually more expensive than that of teaching hospitals.
Those in Benin can get the test in Lily Hospital, Raytouch, St. Bridget, Union diagnostics, or the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UNIBEN).
Note: there are some private hospitals listed here and they charge really expensive prices for these tests. However, their services and facilities are usually the best among healthcare centres in the country.
How to Prepare for HSG Test
To prepare for the test, you’ll have to speak to your doctor. Usually, it will be a doctor that will recommend the test. If you’re doing it in a hospital, clinic, or diagnostic centre that is different from the one that recommended the test, then the doctor in charge of the test will prepare you for the test.
If you’re allergic to Iodine, Betadine, Novocaine, or you have any other allergies, be sure to notify your doctor of these allergies to enable them to prepare you and make the test as safe as possible.
On the day of the test, you’ll be given an anti-inflammatory pain medication an hour before the procedure.
The pain medication helps to minimize any discomfort that will occur during the procedure. This discomfort could be mild to heavy cramping and is usually experienced as the catheter is inserted.
After the procedure, you might experience a small amount of spotting. This is normal and you should bring a pad with you to help protect your clothing.
Related: Centres of IVF Treatment in South Africa
How the HSG Test is Done
To perform the test, you’ll have to lie down on a table under a fluoroscope (X-ray imager). You’ll bend your knees and hold your legs apart.
Your gynaecologist will insert a speculum into your vagina to keep it open, and then clean your cervix with a swab. This helps to reduce the risk of infection.
Next, a thin tube called the cannula will be inserted into your cervix and your uterus will be filled with a liquid containing iodine. The dye will go through your uterus and through the fallopian tubes if they are open. If your fallopian tubes are blocked, you may experience pain. Inform your doctor of such development immediately.
The speculum will be removed and images of your uterus and your fallopian tubes will be taken with the fluoroscope X-ray.
While taking the pictures, you may be asked to hold your breath for a second and to change position so as to get better images of the outline of your uterus and fallopian tubes. During this part of the procedure, you may feel discomfort. If you do, notify your doctor immediately.
Once your doctor decides that the pictures are enough, the cannula will be removed from your vagina and the x-ray machine will be lifted. With that, you’re done with the HSG test.
You might need to wear your pad for a few days to protect your clothes from getting soiled as the iodine is expelled from your uterus.
After the procedure, you might experience slight vaginal bleeding, cramps, or dizziness. These symptoms don’t call for any serious concern and should subside really fast. However, you should notify your doctor if you feel any other symptoms apart from these.
Risks of HSG
An HSG test is relatively safe and should not pose any serious risks. However, if you have an allergic reaction to the dye in the fluid, it could pose a serious problem. Below are some of the risks associated with the procedure.
- Injury to the uterus
- Pelvic infection
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Intense abdominal pain or cramping
HSG Test Results
The results will be examined by a radiologist and a report will be sent to your doctor. Your doctor will explain the results to you and decide the next step to take.
If your tubes are blocked, you might need to undergo surgery. The tests will also tell if your uterus is normally shaped or not. An abnormally shaped uterus is one of the reasons for recurrent pregnancy loss.