What Causes Blocked Fallopian Tubes?
Have you asked yourself the following question by now: What causes blocked fallopian tubes? Maybe you did, maybe you didn`t. However, if you are trying to remain pregnant, such issues should concern you regardless.
Blocked fallopian tubes actually means that they are clogged and represent one of the main causes of infertility. The fallopian tubes are 2 thin tubes placed on either sides of the uterus and serve to guide the mature egg from the ovaries to the uterus. If the route is obstructed, the patient experiences blocked fallopian tubes and the fertilization of the eggs by sperm becomes impossible.
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What Is Tubal Disease?
Tubal disease is a medical disorder in which the uterine tubes are damaged or clogged. In this situation, the tubes will stop the fertilized egg from its passage towards the uterus, leading to infertility.
What Causes Blocked Fallopian Tubes?
Did you know that 40% of infertility cases are due to obstructed fallopian tubes? The main causes are:
- Sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea or Chlamydia.
- Uterine infections occurred after miscarriage or abortion.
- Adhesions resulted from abdominal or pelvic surgery.
- Pelvic inflammatory diseases.
- Faulty application of IUD, which may lead to an infection that involves the fallopian tubes as well.
- Surgical sterilization by uterine tube obstruction upon request.
- Endometriosis, which occurs when the endometrium develops outside the uterus and can determine clogging of the fallopian tubes, because the new formed tissue can compress their diameters.
It`s good to know that the fallopian tubes can be totally or partially blocked. This may increase the risk of developing an ectopic pregnancy , also known as extrauterine pregnancy.
What Are the Symptoms of Blocked Fallopian Tubes?
Additionally to anovulation, in which case the irregular or absent menstrual cycle might show a problem, the hyperplasia of the fallopian tubes often has no symptoms.
A certain medical condition of blockage of the fallopian tubes, known as hydrosalpinx, may cause lower abdominal pains and unusual vaginal discharges, but not all women will experience these signs.
Hydrosalpinx involves the dilation of the uterine tube and its filling with fluid. The liquid blocks the egg and sperm, preventing fertilization and pregnancy.
In other cases, such as endomestriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease, the installation of a painful menstruation may occur as well as pains during intercourse. However, these symptoms aren`t always related to clogged fallopian tubes.
How Do You Damage your Fallopian Tubes?
Women who used to smoke or are smoking now have a lot more chances of experiencing an ectopic pregnancy. It`s believed that smoking damages the ability of the fallopian tubes to transfer the egg towards the uterine cavity. Pelvic inflammatory disease may cause scar tissue inside the uterine tubes. Bacterial infections introduced by sexual intercourse, such as gonorrhea or Chlamydia, are also common causes of tubal damage.
Can You Get Pregnant if your Fallopian Tubes Are Blocked?
So, the fallopian tubes can be blocked partially or completely. When they are blocked partially, this may often lead to an ectopic pregnancy. Also, in case just 1 tube is blocked, there`s a chance to remain pregnant because the egg can pass towards the uterus through the healthy tube. The chances of remaining pregnant depend on how well your ovaries work, but also on the cause of obstruction of 1 or both of the tubes.
Diagnosis & Treatment
When a doctor wants to diagnose this condition, for the beginning he`ll start with:
- Performing a blood test that can exclude a possible hormonal disorder.
- Identifying anti-Chlamydia antibodies if they are present.
- Ultrasound can identify the presence of hydrosalpinx.
It`s important to know that 15% of cases may get a false positive result, in the cases in which the pain is blocked between the tubes and uterus. In these cases, there will be needed a new testing to confirm the diagnosis. – Read more!
Typically, clogged uterine tubes are diagnosed by hysterosalpingography (HSG), a specialized analysis based on x-rays. This test involves placing a dye in the cervical cavity using a very thin tube, and then with the help of x-rays, the doctor will notice if its paint has spread in the uterus through the fallopian tubes and reached the ovaries and pelvic cavity. If the paint didn`t pass through the fallopian tubes, the patient may suffer of blocked fallopian tubes.
- HSG can identify fibrous adhesions, blockage of uterine tubes or tumoral masses in the uterus (fibroids, polups).
- This procedure has many benefits, like being a minimally invasive method that doesn`t involve high risks, the dose of x-ray radiations doesn`t affect the organism too much, and the blocked fallopian tubes can be opened during the procedure.
- Possible risks include vomiting, abdominal pain and cramps. It`s good to know that HSG cannot be performed during pregnancy due to the performed radiations and it`s not indicated when the patient has a pelvic inflammatory disease or a STD.
Another method is hysteroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure, ultrasonographically monitored, uterine tube permeability testing and uterine cavity assessment using a saline solution. This method may replace HSG and the iodinated contrast substance, being a less traumatic intervention for the woman. Hysteroscopy is usually performed during the first 2 weeks of the menstrual cycle – around days 8 and 13 – and there`s no need of hospitalization.
Hysteroscopy can identify atrophy of endometrial mucosa, malignant tissue, polyps, aneurysms, uterine fibroids and pelvic varices.
Among this procedure`s advantages we can mention the fact that the patient actually participates in the entire ultrasound process. If there`s any pain occurring during surgery, the doctor is able to stop the intervention, and the details obtained from this investigation are much clearer.
The procedure might have temporary side effects, such as post-maneuvering bleeding, dizziness, passive pains, cold sweat, heat, nausea or vomiting.
According to some specific studies, 37% of women who performed such a procedure remained pregnant naturally within 1 year from the intervention.
It`s important to say that if you only have only fallopian tube blocked and otherwise you are perfectly healthy, there are big chances to remain pregnant without too much help. You could follow a treatment for increasing your ovulation, which isn`t an option of your have both your tubes blocked.
In some cases, laparoscopic surgery may help in unblocking the tubes or removing the scar tissue that causes the problem. Unfortunately, this treatment doesn`t always work. The chances of success depend on the patient`s age, the size of the blockage as well as its cause.