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Structural problems, blockages and other disorders of the uterus, the fallopian tubes and the pelvis may be diagnosed through a sophisticated x-ray study (or film). A small tube is inserted into the cervix and a dye is injected slowly. The flow of the dye into the uterus, out through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvis can then be viewed on a screen.

This test is performed after a menstrual period but before ovulation. During the injection of the dye, the woman may feel uterine cramping that may last several hours. After the test, there may be a sticky discharge for several hours as the dye is expelled from the uterus. A sanitary napkin is worn instead of a tampon to allow the fluid to escape. Whatever fluid remains in the pelvic cavity is absorbed by the body without harmful effects. One positive potential side effect of HSG testing is that the chance of conception appears to increase for several cycles after an oil dye is used. Because of this, some physicians may prefer to wait several cycles before proceeding to the next test, a diagnostic laparoscopy.

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