Fallopian tubes are muscular tubes which are lined inside hair-like structures that allow the movement of the egg from ovaries to the womb and sperms from the womb up to the released ovum. Each fallopian tube ends in fimbriae that catch the ovum released by the ovaries. Fallopian tubes play an important role in pregnancy because fertilization occurs in tubes for most of the cases.
If any part of the tube is damaged due to infection or any surgery, it results in blockage of the tube with the scar tissues.
Causes of tubal blockage:
- Pelvic inflammatory diseases (PID)
It can cause scarring or hydrosalpinx
Endometrial tissues may grow in the tubes and cause a blockage. These tissues grow on outside of other organs, cause adhesions and it also ends up in tubal blockage.
- Certain sexually transmitted infections
These growths can block the tubes, particularly where they attached to the uterus.
- Past abdominal surgery
Previous surgeries, especially on the fallopian tubes can cause adhesions and results in tubal blockage.
- Previous burst appendix
- Previous history of tubal pregnancy
Symptoms of tubal blockage
Blocked fallopian tubes mostly do not present any symptoms other than difficulty in conceiving.
-Sometimes women experience pain in the pelvis and the belly. This pain may be regular, such as around the time of their period or be constant.
-Blockage in the tube stuck the ovum at the site of block, and if there is fertilization, then the condition is called tubal pregnancy.
Ectopic pregnancy usually does not show any symptoms. But sometimes causes pain in one side of the abdomen or vaginal bleeding.
Effects on fertility:
The female reproductive system is made of uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. If there is any medical condition in these three, then it will cause difficulty in pregnancy. If one fallopian tube is blocked, there may be a chance for fertilization. If both the tubes are blocked, the chance is very less.
Treatment of tubal blockage:
The blocked fallopian tubes can be treated surgically. This depends on the extent of the scarring and where the block is. Surgery aims at,
- Removing scar tissues
- Making a new opening on the outside of the tube
- Opening of the tube from inside
1. Fallopian Tube Recanalization
Vagina is opened with a speculum and a plastic tube or catheter is inserted through your cervix into the uterus. Then inject a contrast liquid through the catheter and see the site of the tubal blockage. Then insert a second, smaller catheter to clear the blockage. There is a chance of ectopic pregnancy as a risk of this surgery.
2. Tubal Ligation Reversal Surgery
The procedure is doing under general anesthesia. Give an incision to the abdomen. Then the blocked part of the tube is removed. Absorbable stitch is used to reconnects the tubes.
It is called as Neosalpingostomy where there creates an opening in the fallopian tube. During surgery, the block is removed and leave the tube in place. The incision heals on its own.
The surgery removes the tubes, and the doctor may suggest for bilateral salpingectomy, to improve the chance of in vitro fertilization. In laparoscopic salpingectomy, use a pre-tied surgical loop and tighten the knot around the fallopian tube to remove it. Otherwise, destroy the blood vessels of the fallopian tubes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many women don’t know they have blocked fallopian tubes until they try to get pregnant and results with some problems. In some cases, there may be light, regular pain on one side of the abdomen. It is usually seen in hydrosalpinx.
Even if the fallopian tubes are blocked, the ovaries will ovulate in each month to produce ovum. But the egg cannot move to the womb and the sperm cannot reach out the ovum and it ends up in infertility.
Even if there is a blockage in one tube, there are chances for the success of IUI. But it may depend on the site of the blockage.
Tubal cannulation may be done immediately after Hysterosalpingography. In this, the doctor flushes dye into the tube and if there is a blockage, then the dye can determine the size of the block. The procedure is done with or without anesthesia. But the pressure dye by the block may cause mild pain.
In the past, it has meant as surgery for tubal blockage. These days, HSG is used to check the blockage and its location. But researches show that many women have conceived in the first three to six months after the procedure.