Fallopian tubes are two slender tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus. The eggs pass from the ovaries, through the fallopian tubes, to the uterus. In the female reproductive tract, there is one ovary and one fallopian tube on each side of the uterus. The fallopian tube carries the egg during ovulation, which usually happens around the 14th day of your menstrual cycle. In this article we will learn more about what causes the fallopian tubes to be blocked and how they are correlated with fertility.
Conception also happens in the fallopian tube. If an egg is fertilized by sperm, it moves through the tube to the uterus for implantation. If a fallopian tube is blocked, the passage for sperm to get to the eggs, as well as the path back to the uterus for the fertilized egg, is blocked.
Fallopian tubes usually are blocked because of scar tissue or pelvic adhesions.
In most cases, women will not recognize they have blocked fallopian tubes until they try to get pregnant. In some cases, blocked fallopian tubes can lead to mild, regular pain on one side of the abdomen.
The most common way to diagnose the blockage is via Hysterosalpingography (HSG).
Hysterosalpingography (HSG) is an X-ray procedure that is used to view the inside of the uterus and fallopian tubes. It is done in a hospital, clinic, or the office of an ob-gyn. It is best to have it done in the first half of the menstrual cycle (days 1 to 14), because this timing reduces the chance that you may be pregnant. During the procedure, a contrast agent is placed in the uterus and fallopian tubes. This is a fluid that contains a dye that shows up in contrast to the body structures on an X-ray screen. The dye outlines the inner size and shape of the uterus and fallopian tubes. It also is possible to see how the dye moves through the body structures.
After HSG, you can expect to have sticky vaginal discharge as some of the fluid drains out of the uterus. The fluid may be tinged with blood, so a pad would be useful for the vaginal discharge. Do not use a tampon though. You also may have the following symptoms: slight vaginal bleeding, cramps, feeling dizzy, faint, or sick to your stomach.
Having both tubes blocked, makes it impossible to conceive without the help of a treatment. If they are partially blocked, chances are better, but the risk of ectopic pregnancy increases. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg grows outside of the uterus. Almost all ectopic pregnancies—more than 90%—occur in a fallopian tube. As the pregnancy grows, it can cause the tube to rupture, whereas the rupture can cause major internal bleeding.
So, if the tubes are blocked with small amounts of scar tissue or adhesions, the doctor will suggest to perform laparoscopic surgery.
The possibility of pregnancy changes depending on the treatment and the severity of the blockage.
A successful pregnancy is more likely when the blockage is near the uterus. Success rates are lower if the blockage is at the end of the fallopian tube near the ovary.
The chance of getting pregnant after surgery for tubes damaged by an infection or ectopic pregnancy is small, and it depends on how much of the tube must be removed and what part will be removed.
The progress of assisted reproductive science can help a woman with one or both fallopian tubes blocked, have a chance of conceiving.
With IVF treatment.
IVF allows the doctor to circumvent the fallopian tubes altogether and insert embryo(s) within the intended mother’s uterus following fertilization with the intended father’s (or donor’s) sperm.
You can learn more about IVF in Greece, here.
According to a 2015 study, performing laparoscopic salpingostomy prior to IVF in women with good prognosis tubal disease may improve the outcome of subsequent IVF, while offering the potential for spontaneous conception.
On the other hand, due to the financial, religious belief, or personal preference, some infertile couples do not want or cannot undergo IVF treatment. For those women, doctors can suggest laparoscopic tubal reconstruction. The procedure could be beneficial in young women with no other factors of infertility. As previously stated, women over the age of 37 with a long history of infertility or those who require a laparotomy for correction of their disorders are not candidates for reproductive surgery.
In this modern era of assisted reproductive technologies, reproductive surgery has a limited place. In selected cases such as young women with a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, pelvic adhesions, and endometriosis, surgery could be considered. Most if not all reconstructive-operations can be performed by laparoscopy; these include tubal anastomosis that yields a high pregnancy rate. On the other hand, women over the age of 37 with a long history of infertility or those who require laparotomy are better treated with in-vitro fertilization. For women with hydrosalpinx undergoing IVF, salpingectomy is the best treatment option. It increases the chance of pregnancy and live birth rates and decreases the miscarriage rate. Findings are from a 2009 study in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada, called “Tubal Surgery”.
Whether you are trying to conceive naturally or through assisted reproductive technologies, understanding the cause of your blocked fallopian tubes is the first step in determining the best course of treatment. If you are diagnosed with it, talk to your doctor to find out what treatment options are available to you. With the right treatment, it is possible to become pregnant despite them.
And while you are dealing with all that, remember that you can always talk to us. There are also many support groups for people struggling with infertility that have been found to be very beneficial. Pay attention to your mental health during the emotional rollercoaster that infertility creates, open up about your feelings, and share your voice, for all you know there are people out.
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