Women with gynecological discomfort or symptoms that impact their daily life may require testing to determine the source of the problem. The sonohysterogram is a simple and painless procedure that can help reveal problems such as fibroid tumors, endometriosis and infertility.
Most people are familiar with the ultrasounds that show the growing fetus inside a pregnant woman. But did you know that these same sound waves can be used to detect problems in your uterus, too? This procedure is called a sonohysterogram. The sonohysterogram uses sound waves to detect structural abnormalities in the uterus.
During this non-invasive procedure, which is typically done in the doctor's office, a saline solution is administered into the uterus to help provide an image. Sound waves are emitted in high-frequency pulses, which bounce off the soft tissues inside the body painlessly and create a digital image that can be seen on a computer monitor.
This image allows your doctor to look for irregularities that might indicate a health condition. Seeing a specialist with experience performing this type of in-office procedure can help ensure an accurate diagnosis.
Sonohysterograms are generally ordered when a woman is having symptoms that suggest the presence of polyps in the uterus, fibroid tumors, atrophy of the lining of the uterus or scarring of the endometrial lining. Your doctor may also order a sonohysterogram to investigate the possible presence of cancer or congenital defects that are causing unusual symptoms. This procedure can also provide information in the case of recurrent miscarriages and problems with blood flow to the uterus, as well as tubal patency (when the fallopian tubes are open).
First, a transvaginal transducer is inserted into the vagina to examine the internal structures. Secondly, the transducer is removed, and fluid is administered into the uterus through a thin tube that is inserted. The transducer is then re-inserted into the vagina to produce an image of the organ with the fluid contained in it. A sonohysterogram generally takes less than an hour.
The cost of a sonohysterogram can vary widely from one part of the country to another. Some patients pay as little as $600 for the procedure, or as much as $1,000. Your health insurance coverage will determine how much you have to cover out-of-pocket. If you have a high-deductible policy, you might have to cover the cost yourself.
Sonohysterograms are usually scheduled right after you have had your period but before you ovulate. At the doctor’s office, you will be asked to empty your bladder and remove your lower body clothing. Your doctor will then perform a pelvic exam to ensure there is no infection, which would require a course of antibiotics before performing the test.
The sonohysterogram can cause some cramping, so you may be advised to take Ibuprofen, Tylenol or another acetaminophen to keep you comfortable during the procedure.
Sonohysterograms are different than the ultrasound tests that are done on pregnant women to check the development of the fetus, and they aren’t generally done if you are pregnant.
You should be able to continue your normal activities immediately following the test. Your doctor may advise taking over-the-counter pain relievers if you experience discomfort from cramping, which can occur as a result of the fluid being introduced into the uterus.
A hysterosalpingogram, often called “HSG,” is a different procedure that uses X-rays, not sound waves, to detect abnormalities in the uterus and Fallopian tubes. In this procedure, a radioactive dye is injected into the uterus and Fallopian tubes that can be detected on the X-ray image. If the Fallopian tubes are open, the dye will flow freely through the structures.
A sonohysterogram is a common procedure that is useful for detecting a variety of gynecological issues, without having to do invasive, exploratory surgery. It has become a valuable tool in detecting common conditions that affect normal function. Your OB/GYN physician will determine if this type of test could be helpful in diagnosing the source of your problem.