While there are various causes of infertility, Blocked Fallopian Tubes remains as the major reason for infertility in women. Unknowingly, these thin tubes can become damaged, making it hard for an ovum to meet with the sperms for conception. Almost 30% cases of infertility in women revolve around blocked or damaged tubes, a condition that is almost silent until it’s time to start a family.
Understand your Fallopian Tubes
The reproductive part of a woman is made up two thin tubes called Fallopian Tubes. These tubes run from the ovary and connect to the uterus where the fertilized egg gets implanted. Specifically, every woman has two of these tubes, each located on the sides, between your hips and the lower abdomen.
The Fallopian tubes are commonly described in parts and they include;
This section is near to the ovary and is associated with fimbriae. The fimbriae is a fringe of tissue at the distal end of the Fallopian tubes. The fimbriae are covered by cilia in a structure of hairs. During the woman’s cycle, the fimbriae and the cilia move the oocyte into the Fallopian tube down for fertilization. The ovulation hormones trigger the work of the fimbriae and the cilia
This is a section that moves downward, known as the lateral tube and it is the main part of the tube. This part connects to the Isthmus
The Isthmus part is connected to the uterus at the utero-tubal junction.
The Fallopian Tubes, Cells, & Hormones
Ciliated cells and the peg cells are the two cell types in the Fallopian tubes. The ciliated cells are highly designated in the infundibulum and ampullary. The estrogen hormone increases the production of cilia cells and the peg cells that produce tubular fluid are dispersedly located between the cilia cells.
The peg cells produce the tubular fluid which contains the essential nutrients for the ova and the fertilized egg. In the same way, the fluid helps the sperm to mature for fertilization.
Progesterone, on the other hand, increases the number of peg cells and so, a balance between these two hormones is necessary for healthy Fallopian tubes.
Causes of Blocked Fallopian Tubes
Various conditions that may damage or cause a blockage in the Fallopian Tubes include;
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
This is a common cause of Blocked Fallopian tubes, which commonly result from an STD such as Chlamydia or gonorrhea. These conditions cause adhesions, tumors, polyps, and scar tissue to form inside the Fallopian tube. In other cases, the tubes can get attached to other parts such as the uterus, bladder, or the ovaries. Twisting themselves is also common
Women suffering from endometriosis increase each year, a condition where the uterine lining grows outside the uterus. This condition presents a major drawback for conception in 30% of the reproductive women
- Uterine Fibroids
Uterine fibroids are generally noncancerous growths in the uterus, common in childbearing women.
Other conditions that may increase one’s risk of Blocked Fallopian tubes include;
- Infections after an abortion or miscarriage
- Tubal Ligation Removal
- A previous ectopic pregnancy
- History of an abdominal surgery
- A history of a ruptured appendix
Symptoms of Blocked Fallopian Tubes
Blocked Fallopian tubes rarely cause any symptom, but hydrosalpinx, a particular type of tubal blockage can cause abdominal pain and unusual vaginal discharge.
Usually, the cause of the tubal blockage may cause symptoms that may indicate a possibility for Blocked Fallopian tubes. These are the associated symptoms;
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Excessive bleeding
- Painful periods
Not every woman with Blocked Fallopian tubes will show any symptom
Types of Blocked Fallopian Tubes
The types of blocked Fallopian tubes are normally categorized depending on the location of the tube affected. They are;
- Midsegment tubal obstruction
This occurs in the ampullary and it normally results from tubal ligation damage. Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure to prevent future pregnancies. The procedure has its own risks, but many women who opt for it end up requiring a correction when they change their minds
- Proximal Tubal Occlusion
This involves the Isthmus and normally results from infections after an abortion, miscarriage, PID, cesarean section and some birth control procedures can block the tubes
- Distal Tubal Occlusion
This type affects the end part near the ovary and hydrosalpinx is the major cause of the blockage.
Diagnosis of Blocked Fallopian Tubes
Medical tests are available to diagnose blocked Fallopian tubes and further investigations may involve a laparoscopic procedure.
- Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)
This is an X-ray test that uses a dye to determine any obstructions in the tubes. During the test, a dye is inserted through a thin tube placed through the vagina. When the uterus is filled with the dye, it will eventually head to the Fallopian tubes and X-rays are taken to check for any obstruction
In this test, an ultrasound imaging is used to determine any obstruction, however, the results aren’t reliable since the tubes are tiny. It may help in the case of hydrosalpinx or uterine fibroids
This procedure also requires a dye to be passed through the uterus and the Fallopian tubes, but it is performed during a laparoscopy to help the fertility expert view the dye that can’t be seen on an x-ray
Blocked Fallopian Tube Treatment
Correcting damaged or blocked Fallopian tubes to result in natural conception has helped some women. Possible treatments depending on the diagnostic results include the following and mostly, surgeries or a laparoscopy.
Commonly performed in the case of hydrosalpinx, this procedure involves the removal of the Blocked Fallopian tube. This procedure is credited for successful IVF treatments
In this procedure, the tube isn’t removed, but a new opening is created near the ovary. Results of this procedure are temporary and a scar tissue may occur
In case the tube is damaged at the fimbriae, this procedure may be preferred. This procedure specifically reconstructs the fimbriae.
- Tubal Reanastomosis
This procedure reverses tubal ligation and in it, the surgeon removes the portion of the Fallopian tube that was tied
- Selective Tubal Cannulation
It is a non-surgical procedure performed for proximal tubal occlusion guided by fluoroscopy or a hysteroscopy
Natural Remedies to Correct Blocked Fallopian Tubes
- Herbal therapies
- Abdominal massage
- Systemic Enzyme therapy
- Pelvic and Abdominal exercises
Pregnancy expectations with Blocked Fallopian Tubes
In case a single Fallopian tube is damaged, another tube can help a woman become pregnant naturally or through IVF treatments.
Fertility experts have managed to corrected Blocked Fallopian tubes resulting in 65% successful pregnancies either naturally or through fertility treatments.