Saturday, September 17, 2011

Surviving the HSG

Yesterday was the dreaded date for the hysterosalpingogram (HSG). I really wanted to avoid this test if at all possible, but unfortunately events conspired and there I was yesterday.

We timed our arrival pretty well, leaving enough time to park and find where we were going (the diagnostic rooms are part of the nearby private hospital) and to fill in a few forms. Unfortunately, things were running late, and we were left in the quiet waiting room for around three quarters of an hour, which was enough time to really get my anxiety up. (Not to mention my disgust at the magazines which seemed to be filled with pregnancy and baby stories)

When we were finally called, they organised me to get changed. Thankfully, it was not a full change - just the lower half of my clothing (you do feel better with some of your own clothes on) were exchanged for a hospital type gown. Then down the hall to the room. They wouldn't let M. in the room, but he was able to wait outside (I would have preferred him in there, honestly).

The nurse explained the procedure to me, and then the doctor repeated the instructions. They were nice, but they insisted on carrying on their own conversation from earlier, which did nothing to distract me from my anxiety. Then I needed to get myself into position for the test, which involved a fair amount of contortionism, particularly when I had to hold my feet in a teeny little shelf. In the end, my muscles and ability to stretch did not work for me, and they had to hold my feet in place for me.

Medically, the procedure involves putting a speculum in, inserting a catheter through the opening of the cervix, inflating a small balloon to keep it in place, then injecting a liquid dye through and taking x-rays. From my perspective, it involved trying desperately to relax while the speculum was put in, increasing cramping and discomfort through that and the catheter, sharp lower cramping while the balloon was inflated and ongoing cramping through the whole procedure.

Afterwards, I had to lay there for a bit. The radiographer (I think) tried to make conversation, mostly around my birthday (just after Christmas), but she went on to say how her daughter shared my birthday, that she never wanted a Christmas baby, went back on the pill to avoid it, but got pregnant just after going off it. Just the right conversation for a woman obviously there for infertility, right? (No, I didn't tell her off. It's hard to tell people off when you're only wearing half your clothes)

I was mildly uncomfortable afterwards (M. did a lovely job rubbing my back which relieved it heaps), had mild nausea going home, and took myself straight to bed as the anxiety/stress caught up with me. About three hours after the procedure I had horrible stabbing cramps which were slightly relieved by panadol. This morning I woke up with almost no discomfort.

The good news was that there were no blockages, and the whole area looked fine. I just wish there was another way to find that out, and hope I never have to go through that again.

Photo from flickr


  1. that sounds like an incredibly stressful and uncomfortable ordeal. i hope you don't have to go through it again either :(

  2. It wasn't real nice, and I think the staff needed to remember that even though it's a daily event for them, it isn't for the woman involved. They were nice, and reassuring when I was in pain, but they weren't particularly attentive.

    And waiting for the scans sucked when you realized all the other people waiting were waiting for pregnancy ultrasounds