Blocked Fallopian Tubes

What are fallopian tubes?
Fallopian tubes, as the name suggests, are tube-like structures in the female reproductive tract that transport the ova from the ovary to the uterus. They are placed on each side of the uterus, which helps lead the mature egg from the ovaries to the uterus. The conception also happens in the fallopian tubes, and if an egg is fertilized by sperm, it moves through the tube to the uterus for implantation. Infertility caused by such blockage is known as tubal factor infertility.

What are the symptoms of blocked fallopian tubes?
The symptoms of blocked fallopian tubes are:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Inability of conception
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Pain during intercourse

What are the causes of blockage in fallopian tubes?
The blockage of the fallopian tube causes the passage for sperm to get to the eggs, as well as the path back to the uterus for the fertilized egg, to be blocked. Scarring tissue, infection, and pelvic adhesions are some of the commonly associated causes of this blockage. Some of the other causes include – uterine infections, sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea, ruptured appendix, past pregnancy issues such as ectopic pregnancy, and any previous surgical procedures.

How is blocked fallopian tubes diagnosed?
Hysterosalpingography is the most common diagnostic method used for the diagnosis of the blocked fallopian tubes. This is a type of X-ray used to examine the inside of fallopian tubes. Abnormalities inside the uterine cavity may also be detected by the doctor observing the x-ray images when the fluid movement is disrupted by the abnormality.

What is the treatment for blocked fallopian tubes?
Blockages of the fallopian tubes’ small amounts of scar tissue or adhesions can be treated with a laparoscopic surgery to remove the blockage and open the tubes. However, larger blockages will require an open surgical procedure. If a blockage is caused because part of the fallopian tube is damaged, a surgeon can remove the damaged part and connect the two healthy parts. However, the risk of ectopic pregnancy is higher after surgery to treat tubal blockage.

For conception and pregnancy, now IVF is an excellent treatment option to overcome challenges associated with blocked fallopian tubes.

How can blocked fallopian tubes be prevented?
Given that in most cases, blocked fallopian tubes are caused by pelvic infections, prevention of these infections is one of the best methods of preventing fallopian tube blocks. Practising safe sex methods and getting regular screenings for sexually transmitted diseases and infections is also recommended.

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