HSG vs SHG: Unraveling Hysterosalpingography & Sonohysterogram For Fertility

HSG vs SHG: Unraveling Hysterosalpingography & Sonohysterogram For Fertility

The Tools For Investigating Fertility Challenges

In some cases, getting pregnant is not as easy as initially hoped. After months or years of trying, couples may begin to consider seeking medical help to understand the underlying cause of infertility. Statistics show that at least 1 in 10 women struggle to get pregnant, needing diagnostic support and treatment. Hysterosalpingography (HSG) and sonohysterogram (SHG) are among the procedures commonly used to evaluate fertility challenges. These tests allow doctors to examine the female reproductive tract and identify any potential issues that may be affecting fertility. The tests also allow for an appropriate treatment plan, such as fertility medication, in vitro fertilization (IVF), or surgery.


What is hysterosalpingography?

Can patients find out if the uterus has any blockages or disorders? Hysterosalpingography is an imaging test that may help achieve this goal. The procedure uses contrast material injected into the uterus and fallopian tubes to help the healthcare professional obtain a clear visualization of the uterine cavity and fallopian tubes via an x-ray. With such images, the doctor can assess the shape and structure of the uterus and identify any blockages in the fallopian tubes.

Advantages and limitations of HSG

Doctors typically recommend HSG to women who are having difficulty getting pregnant or individuals who have experienced recurrent pregnancy loss. As a diagnostic tool, HSG helps identify any blockages, abnormalities, or defects that may interfere with fertility. However, HSG can cause discomfort and pain for some patients. Additionally, HSG carries a small risk of complications such as infection or allergic reaction to the contrast material.

What is sonohysterogram?

Another option for assessing infertility is a sonohysterogram, a procedure that uses ultrasound imaging to examine the uterus. During SHG, a saline solution is injected into the uterus. The uterus expands, allowing for better visualization of the uterine cavity. The saline solution acts as a contrast agent, highlighting any abnormalities or irregularities in the uterine lining. A transvaginal ultrasound wand is then used to create images of the uterus and fallopian tubes. Among the abnormalities that SHG can detect are polyps, uterine fibroids, or adhesions, which may contribute to fertility challenges.

Advantages and limitations of SHG

Sonohysterogram is a less invasive procedure compared to HSG since this procedure does not involve the use of radiation or contrast material. As such, SHG is generally considered a safer alternative with less discomfort for patients. Additionally, SHG provides real-time imaging, allowing the doctor to visualize the uterus and identify any abnormalities immediately. On the downside, SHG does not produce as detailed images of the fallopian tubes as HSG. More so, SHG may not be suitable for women with certain conditions, such as acute pelvic inflammatory disease or active pelvic infection.

Can both tests help?

Hysterosalpingography and sonohysterogram are both valuable procedures that can help healthcare professionals determine the cause of infertility in women. HSG can provide information about tubal blockages and morphology. SHG detects abnormalities in the uterus that may affect fertility. Doctors usually recommend HSG for initial screening to evaluate both the uterine cavity and fallopian tubes. However, if the results from HSG are normal or inconclusive, or there is a suspicion of uterine abnormalities, SHG may be recommended for further evaluation. The results from HSG and SHG provide fertility specialists with a comprehensive idea of the potential causes of infertility. From there, the fertility team can develop a treatment plan to address the specific issues identified.

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