The Mommyish Definitive Guide To Infertility: Hysterosalpingograms and Fertility Medications

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medicationsYou’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while now, with no success. You’ve met with your OB, or maybe even an a reproductive endocrinologist(RE). You and your partner have been poked and prodded like pin cushions, just to find out that you have infertility issues.Your doctor thinks medication is a good first step. After shedding some tears and taking some time to come to terms with your diagnosis, you still want to try and get pregnant. Here’s a guide to what may happen next.

Do I need any more tests before starting medication?

Just the facts:

If the test results indicate that the fertility trouble may stem from you and not your partner, your doctor may want to perform a hysterosalpingogram (HSG). An HSG is a procedure where the doctor will insert a thin tube into your uterus through your vagina. Then the doctor will flush dye through the tube to create contrast so that the structure of the uterus and Fallopian tubes are more visible. X-rays will be taken during the procedure for further study. You may have some spotting or leakage from the dye following the procedure. The procedure itself may feel like period cramps, and your doctor may prescribe Tylenol for you to take prior to the procedure.

The real deal:

Big shout out to awesome Mommyish commentator Abby for jogging my memory about the horror that is the HSG. I had wanted to write about intrauterine insemination (IUI) this week, but you can’t do a series on infertility justice without talking about the HSG ordeal. My mind had blocked out the entire incident, just like birth amnesia, which makes sense because I don’t think it’s too far off to say that the HSG feels much like a bad contraction. Look on the bright side- at least you’ll get a preview of what labor feels like. I was utterly unprepared for the HSG. My doctor prescribed some antibiotics for before and after, because there is a slight risk of infection since they are going deep into your uterus. I also took the Tylenol that was prescribed. Because the nurse told me I could drive myself, that the procedure only took five minutes and felt like period cramps, I stupidly went to the appointment alone.

I am no wimp when it comes to pain. I’ve danced on a sprained ankle, broke my own nose and handled third degree burns, so please don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say the HSG SUCKS. It is quick, so there’s that, but you know those really bad cramps where you can feel the tissue pulling off the walls of your uterus and you break out in sweats because the cramps are so strong? That’s what it felt like to me, only drawn out for five minutes with very few breaks between cramps. Yes, you can endure it and yes, the end game is worth it, but please be smarter than I was and bring someone with you to hold your hand. Make them drive and have them treat you to a yummy snack of your choice afterwards. And bring comfy pants. No one wants to put on anything tight or with a zipper after going through that. When my HSG was over I shakily got into may car, called my husband and sobbed. He left work immediately to come home, where he plied me with ice cream and heating pads. It was nice, but I still would have rather he’d been there to help me through the procedure.

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