A hysterosonogram, also called a saline-sonohysterogram, allows us to analyze the inner surface of the uterus. An ultrasound is performed using a vaginal probe, while a saline solution is injected into the uterus through a thin catheter, helping delineate the inner contents of the uterus. This test helps us discover the cause of heavy periods and investigate infertility and repeated miscarriages.
It is best to have the procedure during the second week (days seven to twelve) of your menstrual cycle though this procedure can be performed during any time of the menstrual cycle while you are on birth control pills. The specified timing reduces the chance of pregnancy during the procedure, however it is easier to view the folds of the uterine cavity.
Hysterosonograms are not usually uncomfortable, but if you are sensitive to pain or cramping you can ask your doctor about taking pain medication such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen. The test involves the following steps:
- An ultrasound probe is placed in the vagina to inspect the uterus and ovaries.
- A speculum is placed in the vagina and the doctor examines the cervix. The cervix is cleaned with antibacterial solution. A thin, soft tube of about one to two millimeters in diameter is placed in the cervix.
- The vaginal probe is reinserted into the vagina.
- Water is injected into the uterus through the soft tube. The fluid causes the uterus to stretch. This may cause uterine cramping.
- The doctor spends about five to 10 minutes examining the uterine cavity and wall.
- A small sample of tissue is sometimes obtained from the lining of the uterus at the end of the procedure, to rule out the presence of an endometrial infection.
Your doctor will discuss the results of the hysterosonogram with you after the procedure. Based on the results, further tests may be needed. If a problem is detected, a treatment plan will be discussed with you. While not common, there is a chance of minor side effects after a hysterosonogram. These side-effects are not serious and usually go away after a day or two.