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Sonohysterogram: About This Test

Female reproductive system (vagina, cervix, uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes), showing ultrasound wand in vagina and fluid going through catheter into uterus.

What is it?

Sonohysterography (say "soh-noh-hiss-ter-AW-gruh-fee") is an ultrasound test. The doctor fills the uterus with fluid. Then sound waves are used to look at the inside of the uterus. If a contrast fluid is used, the sound waves can be used to see the fallopian tubes too. This is called hysterosalpingo-contrast sonography.

Why is it done?

A sonohysterography test may be done if other tests don't show enough detail. A clearer view of the uterus can help to:

  • Look for the cause of abnormal vaginal bleeding.
  • Look for the cause of fertility problems or repeated miscarriages.
  • Find problems in the uterus, such as an abnormal shape or structure.
  • Look for an injury, polyps, fibroids, or scars.

A hysterosalpingo-contrast sonography test is a similar test. It can check the fallopian tubes for blockage.

How do you prepare for the test?

Schedule your test for when you won't be having your period. Your doctor may suggest that the test be done soon after your period ends and before your ovary releases an egg (ovulates). This timing allows your doctor to see the inside of your uterus better. It also avoids doing the test when you could be pregnant.

Your doctor may have you take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as ibuprofen, about an hour before your test. This can help with cramps you might get during or after the test.

You may want to bring a sanitary pad. Some of the fluid may leak out after the test. You also may have some slight bleeding.

How is it done?

  • You will lie on your back on an exam table with your feet and legs supported by footrests.
  • The doctor will use a device called a speculum to gently open the vagina a little bit. This lets the doctor see the cervix.
  • A thin, flexible tube (catheter) will be put through the cervix into the uterus. Then your doctor will take the speculum out.
  • Your doctor will place an ultrasound wand (transducer) in your vagina. The pictures are shown on a screen during the test.
  • Sterile saline solution will be slowly put into the uterus through the tube. If you're having a hysterosalpingo-contrast sonography test, a different fluid will be used to check the fallopian tubes.

How long does it take?

The test will take about 15 to 30 minutes.

What happens after the test?

  • You will probably be able to go home right away. It depends on the reason for the test.
  • You can go back to your usual activities right away.
  • Some of the fluid used in the test may leak out of your vagina. You may also see some spots of blood. Wearing a pad can help absorb the fluid.
  • You may have some cramping for a couple of days after the test. You can take an over-the-counter pain medicine to relieve cramping.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have vaginal discharge that has increased in amount or smells bad.
  • You have new or worse pain in your pelvis.
  • You have new or worse vaginal bleeding.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.

Where can you learn more?

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