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Updated: Aug 9, 2020

I got a call from my fertility clinic yesterday. The medical secretary was in an panic and mentioned that she hadn’t sent me the instructions for the sonohysterogram - something about the software not sending. I was confused, because I had the instructions. Either way, I confirmed with her that I had started the antibiotics on Sunday, two days before the sono, as instructed. We were to refrain from unprotected sex until after the procedure, I’m guessing so that they don’t send an embryo into your abdomen.

I’m lucky that today is my day off work, so I can relax. I’m finding that work days have been so busy lately that I haven’t really had time to process this journey towards becoming a mom. I arrived at the clinic, and they have been screening patients for COVID, asking a series of questions, taking our temperature and giving us masks to wear. I checked in at the desk and then was asked to empty my bladder. After this, I was led into the ultrasound unit, had to wear a hospital gown, and met with the tech and doctor performing the test. The doctor was great with walking me through the procedure. I was prepared for pain, and it was not nearly as painful as getting my IUD placed. The pain reduced to full period cramps, and I was a little light headed. After changing I felt okay and headed home, having hubby drive me just in case I had any side effects. We grabbed some lunch on the way, and then he said, why don’t you lay down and rest.

I woke up a half hour later, and my intestines were bloating and I started to have severe abdominal pain. I have had colic and ileus in the past, having suffered from IBS, but this bout I could not help. I called the pharmacy to see if they had any Buscopan, turns out that medication is on back order. I spent the night tossing and turning, trying to find the least painful position to lay in. 6am came quickly, and I made a peppermint tea and went to work. Driving to work was horrible. Every bump on the road was a sharp pain in my gut.

I didn’t last. I left work half way through the day, and the pain still has not subsided. It’s been longer than 24 hours. I contacted the nurse at the clinic, and I then reached out on our social media page. Turns out what I am feeling is not uncommon! Three other women piped in to say they had the same issue. There was no warning on my handout about ileus or GI stasis, bloat or gastrointestinal pain. It only mentioned mild cramping similar to your period, and says you can go back to doing your usual activities after the test. I think women need to know about this side effect as well. If I had known, I would have taken the next day off work as well.

What I think happens is when they instill the saline in your uterus and it is flushed out through your Fallopian tubes into your abdomen, there is fluid and some debris on your mesentery - the connective tissue of your gut. Then inflammation occurs as the immune system comes in to clean it up, it causes GI stasis. The other thing, since digestion is controlled by the parasympathetic nervous system, and the pain during the procedure uses the sympathetic nervous system, digestion is halted during times of stress. These are my theories anyway. Plus with my history of visceral hypersensitivity, it isn’t surprising that I would be sensitive to inflammation of the mesentery.

I feel a bit better knowing that other women experienced the same symptoms. I was beginning to think something else was wrong. I’m hoping this passes quickly.

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