There are two thin tubes on either side of the uterus called Fallopian Tubes. They are the most important female reproductive organs which connect the uterus to the ovaries. Every month during the menstrual cycle, ovaries release an egg known as ovulation, and this egg is carried from an ovary to the uterus by the fallopian tubes.
The sperm and egg also meet in the fallopian tube for fertilization. Once the egg is fertilized, then it travels into the uterus through the fallopian tube for implantation.
When a fallopian tube is blocked, the entire process of fertilization gets disturbed, blocking passage for sperm to reach eggs or blocking the path for the fertilized egg to reach the uterus. Often this is called female infertility, and it can be treated.
Symptoms of blocked fallopian tubes
Most of the time, blocked fallopian tubes might not have any symptoms other than the difficulty to become pregnant. So many women don’t even know that they have such a condition until they find it difficult to become pregnant.
Hydrosalpinx is a type of blocked fallopian tube that might show symptoms like pain in the lower abdomen and abnormal vaginal discharge, but only a few women with this condition will have these symptoms. In the hydrosalpinx condition, the blocked tube increases its size and fills with fluid. This fluid tends to block the egg and sperm that inhibits fertilization and pregnancy.
However, some conditions like endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) that block fallopian tubes might exhibit their own symptoms like painful menstruation and sexual intercourse. Acute pelvic infections(PIDs) can turn out to be life-threatening.
Causes of blocked fallopian tubes
Usually, fallopian tubes are blocked due to scar tissue or pelvic adhesions, and they can be caused by many factors, which include:
- Pelvic inflammatory diseases(PIDs), which are mostly caused due to sexually transmitted diseases(STDs)
- History of abdominal surgery
- Ruptured Appendix
- Any prior surgery involving the fallopian tubes
- History of Ectopic Pregnancy
- Uterine infection in the past caused by an abortion/miscarriage
- STD infection in the past
All of the conditions mentioned above can harm the fallopian tubes directly or indirectly.
Effect on fertility
Blocked fallopian tubes are one of the major reasons for infertility in many women. This is because sperm and the egg meet in the fallopian tube for fertilization, but the blocked tubes can stop them from meeting.
If fallopian tubes are blocked partially, still you can become pregnant. However, if both the fallopian tubes are completely blocked, then pregnancy is impossible without treating the cause.
However, there is a risk of ectopic pregnancy with partially blocked tubes. This is because the fertilized egg faces difficulty moving to the uterus through the blockage. In such cases, a fertility doctor suggests in vitro fertilization (IVF) based on the severity of the problem.
When one fallopian tube is blocked, in most cases, the blockage won’t harm fertility because the egg and sperm can still move through the healthy fallopian tube. Your chances of ovulation can be improved by the fertility drugs on the open side.
Treatment for blocked fallopian tubes
Completely blocked fallopian tubes require surgery to open them. However, it depends on considering various factors like the area of the scarring and the blockage.
Laparoscopic surgery or keyhole surgery is a preferred option in some cases to open the blocked fallopian tubes or remove scar tissue. The success of the surgery depends on various factors like age (the younger, the better), the extent of blockage, location and the cause of the blockage.
However, surgery is not the only option. Situations may be in favour of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Your fertility doctor analyses your condition and suggests whether surgical repair or IVF treatment would be the better option for you.
To know more detailed information about treatment options or have any other fertility problem contact our expert doctors at Srushti Fertility Clinic in Hyderabad. Our doctors are experienced and skilled in handling any fertility issue.