When you are trying to test your fertility levels, a test that your doctor may recommend is a saline sonogram. This test can help to detect possible uterine abnormalities.
Saline Sonogram (SIS)
A saline sonogram (SIS), also known as a saline infusion sonohysterogram (SHG), is a pelvic ultrasound that injects a sterile saline solution through the cervix and into the uterus. This test is used to evaluate the shape of the uterine cavity. The fluid works to show the uterus and endometrial lining and cavity. Outlining the uterus helps to provide more detail than a normal ultrasound allows.
The procedure only takes about ten minutes. Once a woman’s menstrual cycle finishes for the month, they can begin the procedure with an ultrasound examination using a probe placed within the vagina. Then a speculum is used and a narrow catheter is placed within the vagina through the cervix, into the uterine cavity. The saline will then fill the uterus and helps to outline the uterine walls and cavity.
Why is it Performed?
This test can be done to help determine and identify conditions such as infertility, abnormal uterine bleeding, and recurrent miscarriage. The test can be performed to detect problems such as polyps or suspected scar tissue within the uterus. It can help women who have congenital abnormalities of the uterus, before or during surgery of the uterus, and to detect possible problems that appear later on in life.
Why a Saline Sonogram is Helpful
By seeing the outline of the uterus, your doctor can detect if there will be any possible obstacles that might cause an issue and prevent a healthy embryo from implanting.
Abnormalities that can be found are things such as fibroids, scars, or polyps. Most of these smaller issues can be corrected before beginning fertility treatments.
How to Prepare
It is recommended to wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing on the day of your test. Depending on the practice, you will likely be required to remove all clothing and jewelry from the area being examined. If this is the case, they will provide a gown to wear during the procedure.
It is recommended to schedule this test a few days to one week after menstruation to help avoid the risk of infection. No special preparation is required for the exam. Many doctors recommend taking medication such as ibuprofen before the test to help with any possible discomfort.
Overall it is a safe procedure and is commonly done without any issues. The most common issue that could occur is an infection. This occurs in less than one percent of tests and usually is due to a blocked or infected fallopian tube.
The test can cause some spotting, cramping, and vaginal discharge.
If you are pregnant or suspect that you are pregnant, this test should not be done.
A hysterosalpingogram is an X-ray exam that looks at both the fallopian tubes and the uterus. A radiologist will insert dye into your uterus through your cervix. Your uterus will fill with dye and they will take pictures using a fluoroscopy. This allows them to track the dye from the uterus into the fallopian tubes.
Why a Hysterosalpingogram is Helpful
The test is helpful because it can also help to determine if a woman has blocked fallopian tubes on top of searching for abnormalities within the uterus. If a woman’s fallopian tubes do not contain a blockage the dye will spill into your abdominal cavity.
If a woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked then her eggs can’t move from the ovaries to the uterus. This can prevent sperm from reaching the egg in order for fertilization to occur. The HSG will show if a blockage is located at the end of the tubes, also known as a distal blockage, or at the junction of the tube and uterus, a proximal blockage.
Possible Downside to HSG
The downside to this exam is that it does involve a low dose of radiation. This exam can also be uncomfortable and usually requires some rest afterwards. Women may experience cramping, spotting, or vaginal discharge after.
This test also does not provide as much detail about the uterine cavity that a transvaginal ultrasound does.