Fallopian Tube Blockage

Fallopian tubes also called uterine tubes are two fine tubes on either side of the uterus which carries a mature egg from the ovary to the uterus and the motile sperm which swim up through the cervix. The tubes are lined with ciliated epithelia which move back and forth to help the egg move from the ovary into the uterus each month. It also helps in the movement of the sperm towards the egg. The ciliary action of the epithelia also helps the fertilised egg to move down the fallopian tubes into the uterus. Any scarring or adhesions in the fallopian tubes can cause a blockage that affects the fertility of a woman.
Fallopian Tube Blockage
Fallopian Tube Blockage

Fallopian Tube Blockage

A fallopian tube blockage is any obstruction in the tubes that prevent the egg from travelling down the uterus and also prevents the sperm from reaching the egg, thus affecting fertilisation and pregnancy. It can occur in one or both the tubes and is the cause of female infertility in 40% of cases.

Fallopian Tube Blockage Symptoms

The fallopian tube blockage symptoms are very rare. Most women don’t even know they have blocked tubes until they try to get pregnant and then face difficulty in conceiving. However, in some women, it may cause pain during periods, pain during sex and pain while urinating. It’s advisable to consult a doctor if any of the symptoms arise.

A type of blockage in fallopian tube called Hydrosalpinx (it is a sign of impending infection/pathology) which causes the tube to swell and fill with fluid may cause lower abdominal pain, extreme pelvic pain and unusual vaginal discharge.

Causes of Fallopian Tube Blockage

The most common reasons for a blocked fallopian tube are:

  • An Inflammatory pelvic disease which can lead to scarring of tissues and infections and can cause hydrosalpinx, which is the abnormal collection of fluid in fallopian tube, thus blocking the tube.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases like Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea can cause scarring of tissues which can cause the tubes to get clogged.
  • Tuberculosis of the genital tract mainly targets the fallopian tubes and the uterus, thus affecting the chances of conception.
  • Previous surgery of fallopian tubes can cause pelvic adhesions that blocks the tubes.
  • Prior operation of ectopic pregnancy can also cause blockage of fallopian tube by scarring of tissues.
  • The growth of fibroids which are attached near to the uterus can block the fallopian tubes.
  • Endometriosis can cause the endometrial tissue to accumulate in the fallopian tubes and cause a blockage. Adhesions caused due to the growth of endometrial tissues on the outer parts of other organs can also create a tubal blockage.

Congenital tubal obstruction is a rare cause of blocked fallopian tubes that is present from birth.

Diagnosis of Fallopian Tube Blockage

Blocked tubes diagnosis is made with a specialised X-ray called a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) which involves placing a dye through the cervix and taking X-rays of the pelvic region. If there is no block in fallopian tubes, the dye will go through the uterus, fallopian tubes and spill into the pelvic cavity. If the dye doesn’t get through the tubes, then there might be a blockage. However, at times, an HSG test can give false-positive results.

Tubal blockage can also be diagnosed by laparoscopy and is considered very accurate for detecting blocked tubes.

An ultrasound called sonohysterogram is also used to diagnose blocked tubes. This test uses sound waves which build up a picture of the fallopian tubes.

Saline salpingosonography (SSG), this test is done under ultrasound (sonography). Sterile saline is passed through the uterus and checked as the fluid flows through the tubes. This test is also less accurate.

Is the Fallopian Tube Test Painful (HSG TEST)?

It depends, some women have mild to moderate cramping, and in some, the dye passes through the uterus and then in the fallopian tubes without causing any pain. However, if the tubes are blocked the dye can create pressure which can eventually cause discomfort and pain.

Treatment for Blocked Fallopian Tube

The fallopian tube blockage treatment would depend on the severity of the obstruction.

  • If the blockage is due to the fallopian tube scarring that is not very complicated and less in amount, then the laparoscopy surgery is recommended to check the patency and open the tubes.
  • To repair tubes that are damaged either by ectopic pregnancy or due to the presence of a damaged fallopian tube-, surgery may be done to remove the damaged part and restore the healthy part.
  • If the tubes are very severely damaged, it may affect fertility, and then it is advisable to proceed with IVF technology. It is a process in which fertilisation takes place outside the body, by retrieving eggs and sperm and the embryo thus formed is transferred back to the uterus to implant.

Blocked Fallopian Tubes and Pregnancy

The fallopian tubes blockage can also cause infertility. The sperm and the egg unite in the fallopian tube, and if the tubes are blocked, then the sperm and egg cannot meet, and fertilisation wouldn’t happen, thus affecting fertility.

If both the tubes are blocked, then pregnancy wouldn’t be possible, a woman must undergo treatment to increase her chances of pregnancy. If one tube is blocked, the chances of pregnancy will decrease to half as one cannot predict which ovary will release an egg, the blocked one or the patent one. So, a doctor might suggest fertility drugs to increase the chances of ovulation on the other side of the ovary that has an open fallopian tube.

If the fallopian tube is partially blocked a woman can get pregnant, but the risk of ectopic pregnancy increases. So, in these cases, the clogged fallopian tubes should be bypassed with IVF technology provided other contributory factors like sperm, egg and womb (uterus) are healthy.

Fallopian Tube Blockage Treatment at Medicover Fertility

Medicover Fertility clinics are among the top fertility clinics in Europe, now in India. We have a team of highly dedicated, skilled and experienced doctors who have been successfully treating men and women who have infertility. We have a high success rate as we use the most advanced technology in Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART).

Blocked fallopian tubes are a common cause of infertility in women, and we have many success stories to share of patients who had infertility due to fallopian tube blockage. Surgery of blocked tubes may pose some complications like infection, scar tissue in fallopian tubes, which may later increase the chances of ectopic pregnancy. In this case, if a woman has proper ovulation, we recommend IVF that bypasses the fallopian tube completely. With our services, we have been able to restore the smiles of many couples, who otherwise had lost all hopes after multiple failures in attempts to parenthood.

For fallopian tube blockage treatment or infertility issues, you can call us at +917862800700.

FAQs

Q – How can Blocked Fallopian Tubes be Unblocked?

A – If fallopian tubes are blocked partially, then laparoscopy might be recommended but based on other parameters like age/semen analysis for unblocking fallopian tubes. If the blockage is complicated by the presence of a significant amount of scar tissues and adhesions, surgery may not be possible.

Q – Can Blocked Fallopian Tubes Cause Miscarriage?

A – It is the other way, an infection caused due to a previous miscarriage can cause the fallopian tubes to get blocked.

Q – Why do Blocked Fallopian Tube result in Infertility?

A – A blocked or damaged fallopian tube causes tubal infertility as it hinders the sperm and egg union, thus affecting fertilisation. It also blocks the passage of a fertilised egg into the uterus.

Q – Can you still have a Period if your Fallopian Tubes are Blocked?

A – Fallopian tube blockage generally does not affect periods or menstruation cycle other than some pain or discomfort. Even if both the tubes are blocked, it won’t affect periods. However, the diseases that cause the tubes to get blocked can affect the ovaries and Endometrium and, in these cases, periods might become irregular or heavy.

Q – Can you still get Pregnant with Blocked Fallopian Tubes?

A – Blocked fallopian tubes prevent pregnancy as it hinders the meeting of the sperm and the egg, and also obstructs the motion of the fertilised egg into the uterus. Surgery may be done to remove the blockage, but this treatment is not that effective as it can lead to ectopic pregnancy. Best is to move with IVF for the chances of a successful pregnancy.

Q – How do Fallopian Tubes get Blocked?

A – The fallopian tubes are blocked basically due to scar tissue, pelvic adhesions or infection, which might prevent the woman from getting pregnant.   

Q – Why Fallopian Tubes get Blocked?

A – The fallopian tubes get blocked due to a number of factors like hydrosalpinx which is the abnormal collection of fluid in the tubes, due to scarring or some adhesions due to endometriosis.

Q – How do you know if your Fallopian Tubes are Blocked?

A – There are three basic keys to diagnosing blocked fallopian tubes, they are and X-ray, Ultrasound, or Laparoscopy.

References

1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01443610500239396
2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.7863/jum.1994.13.6.429
3. https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/22/7/1861/2357490