Fallopian tubes, also known as the uterine tubes and oviducts, are the female structures of the body responsible for the ova’s transportation from the uterus every month.
Eggs pass from the ovaries to the fallopian tubes and then to the uterus. As for the female reproductive tract, there is a single ovary and a fallopian tube on each side of the uterus. In the presence of sperm and fertilisation, the fallopian tubes take the fertilised egg to the uterus for the process of implantation to take place.
It is vital to note that the fallopian tube is essential for the female reproductive system. They are the direct pathways for the egg cells to go from the ovaries to the uterus. Hence, without these tubes or any disorders in them, it would be nearly impossible to get pregnant or carry a successful term.
The blockage of the fallopian tubes is one of the main reasons or causes that lead to female infertility. If any part of this tube is damaged due to an infection or a specific surgery, there could be blockage because of scar tissue.
Therefore, this article will discuss the different disorders such as blockage, how they affect the tubes, and when to seek medical help.
So let’s get started!
Fallopian Tube Blockage
If a fallopian tube is blocked, it is most likely that the passageway of the sperm reaches the eggs – and the way back to the uterus to the fertilised egg is blocked too.
Symptoms of Fallopian Tube Blockage
In most cases, blocked fallopian tube blockage doesn’t cause any alarming symptoms that one can catch on easily. Many women don’t even realise that they have blocked fallopian tubes until they go through the following:
- Get pregnant
- Problems regarding conception
- Suffer mild to regular pain in the abdomen region
However, a blocked fallopian tube may cause some women to experience pain in the belly or pelvis area. They might have this pain during their periods, or it could be that this might be constant.
Sometimes, blocked fallopian tubes can lead to chronic to mild pain in one side of the abdomen. This type of blockage of the uterine tubes is better known as hydrosalpinx – a condition where fluid fills and enlarges the blocked tube. We will discuss this in-depth later in the article.
At other times, a blocked fallopian tube can cause a fertilised egg to get stuck, known as ectopic pregnancy. Women who believe they may be undergoing ectopic pregnancy – going through symptoms such as one-sided stomach and vaginal bleeding, then you must seek medical help immediately.
Causes of Fallopian Tube Blockage
There can be an array of reasons why some percentages of women end up with a blocked fallopian tube. Some of them are:
- Have a history of issues in the pelvic region
- Have contracted a sexually transmitted disease such as gonorrhoea
- Have a history of surgeries performed in the pelvic area
Such problems can affect the fallopian tubes and cause scar tissue. These scar tissues, in turn, can block the tubes.
Salpingitis is the inflammation of the fallopian tubes and a type of PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease). It is regarded as the infection of the reproductive organs of the body. Such infections are usually a result of sexually transmitted diseases.
The inflammation caused can quickly affect the other tube, thus leaving both the tubes to be affected. If Salpingitis isn’t paid attention to, it causes long term complications in women. Hence, it is vital to understand and know the symptoms to seek medical attention immediately.
Symptoms of Salpingitis
If one happens to be affected by Salpingitis, it may be possible that it has no symptoms at all. However, some women go through symptoms such as continuous pain in the pelvic region, fever, and feeling unwell.
Salpingitis requires compulsory and immediate antibiotic treatment since it can transition into a chronic disease. If the other symptoms of Salpingitis happen to be present, they may include the following:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge along with an unusual colour and odour
- Spotting between periods
- Painful sex, ovulation, and menstrual cycle
- Abdominal pain on both sides
- Lower back pain
- Frequent urination
Causes of Salpingitis
Salpingitis is caused by bacterial infections that contract due to vaginal intercourse, but one is more at risk if:
- They have had an STI before
- They are engaging in sexual activities with numerous partners
- They have performed unprotected sex
It is also essential to remember that Salpingitis can be acute or chronic. If one’s case is beyond saving, they face infertility, tubo-ovarian abscess, and ectopic pregnancy.
To make this easier – “hydro” means “water”, and “salpinx” means the fallopian tube. Hydrosalpinx is defined as a fallopian tube that is blocked due to a watery fluid.
The fluid stays or accumulates there because of acute or chronic inflammation happening in the tube. The condition is normally caused by a previous infection of the pelvic region or a sexually transmitted disease.
Nevertheless, it can have a massive impact on a pregnancy term, as discussed below.
Symptoms of Hydrosalpinx
There aren’t many symptoms of hydrosalpinx to begin with. Most women don’t even know that they are affected until they can’t have kids since hydrosalpinx directly affects fertility. However, some of the symptoms that appear are:
- Pelvic pain
- Abdominal pain
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Flu-like symptoms
Nonetheless, if one of the tubes has been affected with hydrosalpinx, it is possible to conceive with the other open one tube if it’s healthy. However, given the delicate environment of the uterus – hydrosalpinx will most likely affect it, causing a low pregnancy rate.
Causes of Hydrosalpinx
There are a bunch of several reasons as to why hydrosalpinx may happen. However, some of the commonest ones of them are listed down below:
- STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections)
- PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease)
- Recent abdominal surgery
Again, ectopic pregnancy or constant pain in the pelvic region are indications that hint towards one possibly having hydrosalpinx.
It would be better to stay on the safe side and be updated about one’s medical history when planning a pregnancy. Even though blocked fallopian tubes can cause infertility in most cases, it is still possible to give birth and carry a successful pregnancy term.
In most cases, the doctor would advise laparoscopic surgery. This is a surgery where the blockage is removed, and one would have better fertility. However, if the damage done is grave, IVF could also be an option to pursue.
In the cases of Salpingitis and hydrosalpinx, with early diagnosis and effective treatment options, they can fully clear out through antibiotics. Nonetheless, if left untreated, they can result in health complications such as ectopic pregnancy and infertility.
One must immediately contact a doctor or seek professional medical help if they happen to experience the symptoms mentioned in the article for some time being.