Patency is a term used to describe how open or closed an area is. Picture a straw, when you squeeze the sides together it is hard for liquid to move through it; this means the straw is not very patent or has low patency. When you do not squeeze the sides together, but instead use the straw normally, the liquid moves through the straw very easily, and the straw is patent. Fallopian tubes, the tubes that carry the eggs from the ovaries to the uterus, can also be tested to see how patent they are. If the tubes have low patency, naturally conceiving a child might be challenging. Either the sperm might not be able to swim through the tube to reach the egg for fertilization, or after fertilization, the embryo might not be able to flow to the uterus for implantation. If an embryo becomes stuck inside the fallopian tube, it will result in a tubal pregnancy, a type of ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies can be very dangerous for the women’s health if they are not diagnosed quickly. To prevent this from occurring, it is recommended to have your fallopian tubes tested for patency. Hysterosalpingo foam sonography (hyfosy) is a very simple procedure to test the tubal patency. During the test, a catheter is placed through the vaginal opening, up the uterus, and into the base of the fallopian tube, using an ultrasound to guide the way. Special foam is then pushed through the catheter to flow through the fallopian tube. If the foam flows easily and quickly, the tube is patent, but if the foam flows slowly or not at all, the tube is less patent.
The endometrium is the innermost lining of the uterus. This lining should be made up of three, very smooth layers which will make it easy for the embryo to attach to. Sometimes, the endometrium is not smooth, and looks more like cauliflower, making it difficult for the embryo to attach. If the embryo is unable to attach, then normal menstruation will occur. Hysterosalpingo contrast sonography (hycosy) is a test to check the health of the endometrium. During the test, a catheter is placed through the vaginal opening, and into the uterus, using an ultrasound to guide the way. Special gel is then pushed through the catheter and will adhere to the endometrium, showing a clear image of how the tissue looks.
Both hyfosy and hycosy are effective, safe ways to show tubal patency and endometrium health. They do not contain any radiation nor harmful substances, and are quick, out-patient procedures that are very important when seeking guidance about fertility treatment.