Women who suspect they may have polyps, fibroids or who have experienced recurrent pregnancy loss when they are trying to conceive are likely to undergo a hysterosonogram. Also known as a sonohysterogram, this diagnostic test is similar to a hysterosalpinogram but involves the use of an ultrasound to get a more detailed picture of the reproductive organs.
How The Test Is Done
Thanks to the highly sensitive nature of the test, a hysterosalpingogram hysterosonogram is often able to pick up on problems in the uterus or ovaries that a hysterosalpingogram may miss. A hysterosonogram will be performed before you ovulate but after your period, roughly around day 7 to 10 of your menstrual cycle, in order to avoid interfering with a potential pregnancy. The test should take about ten minutes to perform.
Although the test is not painful, it is often recommended that you take an ibuprofen (like Advil or Motrin) an hour before as well as after the procedure in order to relieve any discomfort. You will also likely be instructed to drink four to five glasses of water one hour prior to your appointment in order to have a full bladder for the test. This will help the specialist performing the hysterosonogram to have a better view of your reproductive organs.
During the test, you will recline on the examination table with your legs in stirrups; similar to the position you would be in for a PAP smear. A speculum will be used to open up your vagina before a transvaginal ultrasound probe is inserted. This probe will allow the administrator of the procedure to have a clear image of your ovaries and uterus as well as any potential problems that may be present.
Next, a catheter that will inject a sterile saline solution (salt water) into your uterus will be inserted into your vagina. This solution helps to expand your uterus even more, thereby increasing the visibility and allowing for a very detailed look at your reproductive organs. The ultrasound images that are produced can be printed off so that your doctor can compare results. A preliminary report can be provided immediately after the procedure if you are meeting with your doctor on the same day. Otherwise, a final report can be produced within a few days.
Many women experience some cramping while the saline solution is being injected into their uterus. Once the transvaginal probe is removed, the majority of the saline solution spills out and the cramping usually subsides. Other side effects of the procedure include light bleeding or spotting for a couple of days after the test. There is also a small chance of infection.
What a Hysterosonogram Can Diagnose
Women who have been experiencing problems trying to conceive, infertility, abnormal bleeding or multiple miscarriages will most likely be sent to have a hysterosonogram. Because this diagnostic test can provide such detailed images of the uterus, endometrial lining and ovaries, it is most often used to identify if a woman has:
Additionally, a hysterosonogram can help determine the size, shape and exact location of any uterine abnormality, like polyps or fibroids. Women with endometriosis may also have a hysterosonogram performed in order to determine the extent of the endometriosis.