Are Your Tubes Clogged? One reason why a woman may not be getting pregnant could mean that her fallopian tubes may not be open. Fallopian tubes are tubes with ducts that open at one end into the uterus and the other end near the ovary. Each tube provides as a passage in which the egg is carried to the uterus and meets the sperm. There are procedures that can be performed to make sure a woman’s tubes are not blocked before trying to conceive. Your fertilization specialist may suggest having a hysterosalpingogram (HSG). Salpingo means fallopian tube and salpinogram meaning radiographic examination of the fallopian tube using a dye. An (HSG) is basically an X-ray test that looks at the inside of the uterus and fallopian tubes. It often is done for women who are having a hard time becoming pregnant. During a hysterosalpingogram, a dye is put through a thin tube that is put through the vagina and into the uterus. Because the uterus and the fallopian tubes are hooked together, the dye will flow into the fallopian tubes. Pictures are taken using a steady beam of X-ray as the dye passes through the uterus and fallopian tubes. The pictures can show problems such as an injury or abnormal structure of the uterus or fallopian tubes, or a blockage that would prevent an egg moving through a fallopian tube to the uterus. A blockage also could prevent sperm from moving into a fallopian tube and joining (fertilizing) an egg. A hysterosalpingogram also may find problems on the inside of the uterus that prevent a fertilized egg from attaching (implanting) to the uterine wall. There are several reasons why fallopian tubes can be blocked. These reasons include adhesions, infections, infectious or non-infectious pelvic inflammatory diseases, scar tissue, endometriosis and damaged tube ends.  History of sexual transmitted disease and Chlamydia is the number one cause for blockages. Infections cause scarring, fibroids, polyps and adhesions can cause injury and prevent pregnancy. Some professionals say that having the HSG procedure can open the tube passages and increase chances of pregnancy, whether there is a blockage or not. This procedure will not interfere with your next cycle of insemination because it is usually done on cycle days 3-5. It should also be done before you ovulate the next month to avoid using X-rays during a pregnancy. An (HSG) usually is done by a radiologist or your fertilization specialist, in procedure room of the clinic or hospital. Before the procedure, you may take about 800mg of ibuprofen to relax your uterus so it will not cramp during the test. You will undress from the waist down and drape a gown. You will probably be told to empty your bladder and then lie on your back on an examination table with your feet in stirrups. Your doctor will insert a speculum into your vagina. The cervix may be held in place with a clamp called a tenaculum. The cervix is then wiped off and a catheter is put through the cervix into the uterus. The X-ray dye is put through the tube. If the fallopian tubes are open, the dye will flow through them and spill into the belly where it will be absorbed naturally by the body. If a fallopian tube is blocked, the dye will not pass through. The (HSG) test usually takes 15 to 30 minutes. The X-ray pictures are shown on a TV monitor during the procedure so results are instant. References Mosby’s Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Professionals. 7th. Ed. (2006). Mosby Elsevier. St. Louis, MO. WebMD. (2010). Hystersalpingogram. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/hysterosalpingogram-21590

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