Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hysterosalpingogram? I'll Pass.

It was time to up the ante to IUI with ovum stimulation. Time was passing and I wasn't getting any younger. It was May 2005 and I had another consultancy with a doctor. This time I saw Dr. M. She had an elegant European style about her, a wedding band on her finger, and she spoke fluent English as well as Hebrew. She probably had children at home and almost definitely had a another language. I immediately felt inferior. Then she smiled and she was nice. I wanted to be like Dr. M when I grew up. Except that she was probably about six years younger than me.

Like Dr. B, she was one step ahead of me on the treatment hierarchy. "There is very little chance that IUI will work even with ovum stimulation. With IVF the chances jump up to 25%." But I was still on the crusade of as little intervention as possible. I still couldn't believe that, with my strong maturnal instincts, my child-bearing hips, and my fantastic FSH scores, my body wouldn't be thirsty for pregnancy. And that it wouldn't quench that thirst at the earliest opportunity.

"I also want you to to do a hysterosalpingogram (HSG)," said Dr M.
"What's that?"
"They pass a tube into your uterus and inject a dye through to your fallopean tubes. This shows up on an x-ray and they can check for any blockages. Sometimes the precedure itself clears any blockages and there's more chance of pregnancy. Make an appointment with radiology. They will probably want to do it straight after your next period. Then come back here on day five of your cycle." Before I left she gave me prescriptions for Gonel F, Ovitrelle, and Cetrotide.

I made an appointment with radiology and a few days later I was talking to my friend Z, who has twins through IVF. "Oh my God, I had to have that. It killed! I stopped the procedure half way through and the doctor was really horrible about it. He told me to stop making such a fuss as it didn't hurt that much."
"Yeah right, when was the last time he had one?"

I called radiology and cancelled my hysterosalpingogram. Z didn't do it and she had twins, so that was all right then.


  1. Eek... sounds like a horrible procedure. And a horrible doctor! Good for you standing up for yourself!

    xx Jazzy

  2. Actually Jazzy, since then I've found out that Z is a big fusspot so I shouldn't have listened to her.

  3. I had one of those - Z is not being a fusspot. It's one of the worst things even been done to me (and I've since given birth to 2 kids!!)

  4. OK W, first of all, sorry. There has been a bit of a discussion about this on fb and it seems that everyone has had a different experience. I don't know what makes some women wrythe in pain and others say it didn't hurt at all. I suppose I'd better also apologise to Z. As i chickened out I can't really judge.

  5. Strange, I also heard it was the most painful procedure, but when I had it (around 1991!) it was really not painful at all for me.

    Now I read the previous comments, I see it's not so strange. Oh well.

  6. Tesyaa - I definitely learnt something from this post, it's very hard to quantify pain as everyone has a different reaction. Thanks for your comment.

  7. I had this done (oh the joys of fertility problems) and for me personally it was blinking awful. They suspect I had an allergic reaction to the dye which left me in writhing agony for days but the actual test itself was horrific (and by this point I'd already been poked and prodded in places I didn't know existed so I didn't think it would be an issue). Some do ok, some have horrible experiences.

    On the lighthearted side I'd love to get hold of the person who wrote the guidance notes for our hospital "Take a mild painkiller half an hour before". Hmmmm :)

  8. The amount of pain depends mostly on your fallopian tubes. If one of your tubes is blocked, they basically try to stab the blockage out with the dye. That is at a minimum very painful and depending on how blocked it is the range of pain can be between excruciating to insupportable. One of my friends almost passed out as hers just couldn't be cleared that way. She had to have an operation to open it up.

    One of my tubes was blocked and it was very painful and there was a lot of blood as well. As a bonus I had only had 1 pap smear ever in my life and that was with my female gynecologist who I knew well and who was very gentle and understanding. This procedure was all that I had feared it would be and more with a male doc and male tech and the doc just pushing hard to get it in when I was tense and the catheter basically could not go in. I was hysterical for 2 hours afterwards. I know other people who did not have a blockage who were more used to pap smears and for them it was no more painful or traumatic than a vaginal ultrasound.