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Childbirth is one of the greatest joys in life. Ask new parents and they will affirm this feeling. The feeling of holding a newborn in your arms for the first time is simply amazing. Euphoria is the word that best describes those tender moments. If you have recently become parents, we are sure you can understand what we are saying.
Unfortunately, there are some couples who don’t get to experience this joy. They are unable to conceive and get pregnant even after trying repeatedly. The causes of infertility are many but so are the treatments for infertility. One such treatment option is the HSG.
What Is a Hysterosalpingogram?
A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is a procedure that uses an x-ray to check a woman’s uterus and to see if the fallopian tubes are clear. This x-ray procedure involves administering an iodine dye via the cervix into the uterus to take pictures. The whole procedure takes less than 10 minutes and there is nothing to worry about.
Can You Get Pregnant After an HSG Test?
In the HSG test, a dye, usually iodine, is injected into the uterus of the woman via the cervix and then X-ray images are taken. The dye reaches the fallopian tubes and provides clearer pictures to the doctor. This enables them to pinpoint the cause of infertility with greater accuracy. If there are any injuries or blockages occurring in the tubes, it shows up in the images taken afterwards. This makes it easy to find the reason for infertility, and treat it accordingly.
While the HSG test is primarily for diagnostic purposes, it has been observed that it increases the chances of getting pregnant naturally in infertile women. The pregnancy rate after an HSG test is believed to be around 2 to 3 times higher than in women who have not undergone this test before. The test itself is not a treatment for infertility; it is done to merely understand the reasons for infertility. But many women get pregnant after undergoing this test. The reasons for the same are not known though. Getting pregnant after undergoing the HSG test, therefore, may simply be a coincidence. It may also be due to some unknown reason in the procedure of carrying out the test. While HSG tests are not a treatment for infertility in any way, infertile women have a greater chance of getting pregnant after taking this test. Therefore, it is definitely worth a shot.
An HSG Test With a Water-Based or Oil-Based Contrast
A part of the test involves injecting dye into the uterus of the woman via her cervix. This is done so that the X-ray becomes clearer, and the doctor can identify any potential harm or injury that has occurred within the cervix. The technician will be able to see the uterine shape much more clearly, after injecting the dye into the uterus. However, there is another function for this contrast, it is tubal flushing. Tubal flushing means that the dye injected also does the job of clearing any blockages on the way to the fallopian tubes, making it easier for sperm to swim over to the ovum. This helps the sperm fertilize the egg and increases the chances of pregnancy. If tubal flushing is carried out as a therapeutic measure, there is no need to take the X-ray afterwards. Tubal flushing can be carried out either with water-soluble, oil-soluble, or combined contrasts.
There’s no stark improvement in pregnancy rates when a water-soluble contrast or combined contrast is used. However, using the oil-soluble contrast can lead to pregnancy. Couples who had undergone this procedure, their odds increased by around 25%.
If you have doubts regarding the health of your uterus while undergoing this procedure, then we have answered some common questions that most couples have. Read on –
1. Can an X-Ray Affect Eggs?
The x-ray does not affect the eggs in any way, as the eggs are always in a state of maturation arrest before the fertilization occurs. When the X-ray procedure is carried out, there is very less radiation that passes through the body of the female and it does not damage the eggs in any way. It also doesn’t harm the growing foetus.
2. Can the Dye Harm the Eggs, Embryo, or the Foetus?
The dye may harm the foetus if injected during pregnancy. However, it does not harm the eggs or the embryo in any way. The dye is also cleared out of the uterus quickly so that no harm occurs to the foetus that may be present in the uterus at the time of the HSG test.
Why Does an HSG Test Increase the Chances of Pregnancy?
The process of injecting a dye into the uterus of a woman is meant to help in getting clearer X-rays or images of the woman’s uterus and fallopian tubes, but it can even contribute to fertilization. When the dye moves to the fallopian tubes, it removes any blockages which may have occurred in the path and clears the way for the sperm to reach the fallopian tubes. This is called tubal flushing and it can help increase the chances of conception.
How Long Does It Take to Get Pregnant After an HSG Test?
The chances of conception increase by around 25% in couples for up to three months after the test is conducted. Therefore, couples will have to try to get pregnant for 3 months after the test. Although this test helps most women get pregnant, it is not a treatment for infertility. One should check with a doctor if they are unable to get pregnant even after trying for days and months.
As the injected dye helps clear blockages within the uterus, it makes an easier path for the sperm to reach the ovum, thereby increasing the chances of pregnancy. Thus tubal flushing is definitely worth a shot for couples who are trying to get pregnant. You can consider this test but try other options too. HSG tests are meant to be diagnostic tools to help doctors understand the problem in a woman and they can or cannot lead to pregnancy. So don’t lose hope if you don’t get pregnant after undergoing this test. Try for fertility treatments and soon you will have your little one in your arms!
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Also Read: Blocked Fallopian Tubes