Blocked fallopian tubes are a common underlying cause of infertility for many women. The cause of blocked fallopian tubes can be due to various factors, but for the most part, scarring and damage to the reproductive organs is the primary reason. Blocked fallopian tubes do not display any outward signs and symptoms. So, it’s quite common for women to not know they have an issue with blocked fallopian tubes until they struggle with an inability to conceive.
How Fallopian Tubes Work.
Your fallopian tubes connect the ovaries to the uterus. They are responsible for allowing the egg to travel down to the uterus after being released from the ovary. When it comes to fertility, the fallopian tubes are the site where fertilization occurs. Sperm travels up into the fallopian tube to fertilize the egg, and the egg will travel down the fallopian tube to implant into the uterus.
Blocked Fallopian Tubes.
You can experience a blockage in one fallopian tube or both fallopian tubes depending on the amount of scar tissue present in the area. These blockages interfere with the fertility process by preventing the egg from traveling down the fallopian tube to become fertilized and can also cause an implantation issue. Some conditions and issues that can lead to fallopian tubes becoming blocked are:
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Sexually Transmitted Infections
- Prior Ectopic Pregnancy
- Past Abdominal Surgery
Types of Blockages
There are three main types of blockages that are common when diagnosed with blocked fallopian tubes. The type of blockage, as well as how severe the damage is to the fallopian tube, will determine your treatment plan and fertility options. It is advised to work with a fertility specialist or experienced OB/GYN that understands your unique situation for the best results.
One Blocked Fallopian Tube
Experiencing a blockage in one of your fallopian tubes can decrease your fertility but prevent your chance of becoming pregnant. As long as your doctor states that you are in good overall health and there are no pre-existing conditions, you should focus on healthy conception options. Fertility drugs and treatments may be options your doctor recommends to increase your odds of conception.
Partially Blocked Fallopian Tube(s)
If you have a partial blockage in one or both tubes, you may find that conception is challenging. The severity of the blockage is what will determine your treatment plan as well as your conception options. It is important to note that your risk for ectopic pregnancy increases when you have a partial blockage in your fallopian tube.
Ectopic pregnancy involves an embryo implanting and developing outside of the uterus within the fallopian tubes. This type of pregnancy is dangerous since the egg cannot develop and grow the way it should and can lead to excess bleeding for the woman. It’s important to suspect that you have an ectopic pregnancy that you speak with your doctor as soon as possible. Common signs and symptoms associated with an ectopic pregnancy are severe abdominal or pelvic pain during pregnancy, abnormal vaginal bleeding, extreme dizziness, and fainting.
Fully Blocked Fallopian Tube
If you are experiencing fully blocked fallopian tubes, you will most likely struggle with fertility issues. This is one of the main contributing causes and factors of infertility and will require treatment to remove blockages. Your success in achieving pregnancy will depend on the severity of your particular case as well as your current state of health.
Diagnosing Blocked Fallopian Tubes
In general, there are no outward signs and symptoms that will alert you that you have an issue with blocked fallopian tubes. This is why if you are struggling with infertility visiting your doctor and discussing your issues is best. During these examinations and via testing, you may learn that fallopian tube blockages are causing your fertility struggles.
Blocked fallopian tubes can be diagnosed in a variety of ways. They can be diagnosed via a hysterosalpingogram or laparoscopy. When a doctor performs a hysterosalpingogram, this test involves a type of x-ray that looks at the fallopian tubes inside to see if there are any blockages, scars, or adhesions. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a laparoscopy, depending on how successful they are with the hysterosalpingogram.
If you receive a diagnosis from your medical professional stating that the cause of your infertility is a blocked fallopian tube, do not despair. There are treatments available for women who have blocked fallopian tubes, improving their chances of moving towards fertility options and becoming pregnant. The type of blockage, location, and the current state of health will be the main and primary concerns of the doctor when deciding what treatment plan will be ideal for your specific case.
Minor to Moderate Blockage
When you have small blockages or adhesions, your doctor may recommend laparoscopic surgery as an option. Laparoscopic surgery is a procedure in which a small incision is made on your abdomen, and a laparoscopic instrument is inserted into your abdominal cavity, which allows your doctor to view the reproductive organs and treat minor blockages, scarring and adhesions.
Moderate to Severe Blockage
If there is moderate or severe scarring, adhesions, or blockages, treatment may not be indicated in your cases.
Partial Damage to the Fallopian Tubes
If there is damage to part of the fallopian tube, your doctor may recommend that the damaged part be removed and to have the two healthy parts reconnected. This option again depends on the severity of the damage present in your fallopian tube.
Talk To A Doctor
When it comes to infertility, the worst is not knowing or understanding what is going on. Finding a medical professional and receiving the proper testing you need to identify the underlying issue can help you find what the problem is and address it. If you’re under 35 and have struggled with fertility for over a year, or if you are 35 and older and have struggled with fertility for 6 months, it’s important to schedule a doctor appointment and get evaluated as soon as you can.