Blocked Fallopian Tubes - A Major Cause Of Female Infertility

Blocked Fallopian Tubes – A Major Cause of Female Infertility

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sabiha Anjum (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

A common cause of infertility in women, blocked fallopian tubes are also treatable. With the advances in medicine, there are now multiple treatment options available for women who have been diagnosed with the complication. Read on for all you need to know about diagnosing and dealing with the condition.

What Are Blocked Fallopian Tubes

Located in the abdominal cavity between the uterus and the ovaries, the fallopian tubes are also called uterine tubes or the oviduct. There are two fallopian tubes on either side of the uterus. They help in the transportation of the sperm from the vaginal opening, to the egg that has been released by the ovary during ovulation. The fallopian tubes also help with the transportation of the fertilised egg to the uterus for the purpose of implantation. If the connection between the uterus and the ovaries is blocked, this is known as a blocked fallopian tube. A woman with the condition may have one or both tubes blocked.

What Are Blocked Fallopian Tubes

Does Fallopian Tube Blockage Cause Infertility?

Blocked fallopian tubes are one of the most common causes of infertility. It has been observed in about 40% of women worldwide. If your fallopian tubes are blocked, it means that the sperm cannot travel to the egg, or the fertilised egg cannot make its way back to the uterus. A lot of women who have been diagnosed with the condition suffer from infertility. Getting your fallopian tubes checked, and administering the right treatment on time can remove you from the bracket of infertility.

Is it Possible to Get Pregnant With Blocked Fallopian Tubes?

Getting pregnant with blocked fallopian tubes is difficult but not impossible. There are various ways the complication can be treated. Your doctor is sure to advise you on the course of treatment best suited to your needs.

Types of Fallopian Tube Blockages

There are three types of fallopian tube blockage, based on the location of the blockage. These are:

  • Proximal fallopian tube blockage – A blockage near the uterus.
  • Medial – A blockage near the middle of the fallopian tube.
  • Distal blockage – A blockage near the fimbriae, which is near the end of the fallopian tubes.

Causes of Blocked Fallopian Tubes

Here are a few causes of blocked fallopian tubes:

  • PID or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: This is a condition where there is an inflammation in the pelvic area due to infection. This is a sexually transmitted disease that can cause your fallopian tubes to get blocked.
  • STDs: Other sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhoea can be responsible as well. Sometimes, even if you’ve recovered from these sexually transmitted diseases, a history of the same is enough to get your fallopian tubes blocked.
  • Endometriosis: This is one of the most common causes of a blocked fallopian tube. Every month, during the menstruation cycle, a uterine lining is formed, which is then discarded as your menstruation period. For women who suffer from endometriosis, this uterine lining is formed outside the uterus, and in extreme cases even in the fallopian tubes, vagina or the rectum. Unfortunately, the trouble doesn’t end there – it begins when this uterine lining isn’t discarded but gets accumulated, forming a growth. This condition causes blockage and scar tissue formation in the fallopian tubes.
  • Surgery: A history of surgery that involves the fallopian tubes.
  • Appendicitis: In some cases, a ruptured appendix can cause blocked fallopian tubes as well.

Now that you know what blocked fallopian tubes are and what causes them, you should also know the symptoms women with blocked fallopian tubes show. If you happen to notice these symptoms, it is a wise idea to consult a gynaecologist for a proper diagnosis, and if needed, to get the treatment started well in time.

Fallopian Tube Blockage Symptoms

There aren’t many signs that will tell you that you have a problem. Here are some symptoms to watch out for if you suspect you have blocked tubes:

  • Inability to get pregnant.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Pain during intercourse.
  • Irregular periods.
  • Spotting in between your menstrual cycles.
  • Inflammation of the pelvic area and pain if the fallopian tubes are blocked due to endometriosis.

Diagnosis of Blocked Fallopian Tubes

Your doctor may conduct the following tests to diagnose your condition:

  • Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): Here, a tiny tube is used to place some dye through the cervix. X-rays of the pelvic area show if the dye has spread to the ovaries into the pelvic cavity. If it has not, the fallopian tubes may be blocked and will need to be tested further.
  • Ultrasound: A transvaginal ultrasound is used to examine the fallopian tubes and detect an abnormality.
  • Exploratory Laparoscopic Surgery (Hysteroscopy): Here, a camera is placed into the cervix to examine the uterus.
  • Blood tests: This help detect the presence of Chlamydia antibodies.

Diagnosis of Blocked Fallopian Tubes

After the diagnosis is made, your medical practitioner will suggest appropriate ways to treat the condition. The options are put forth to ensure they are suitable for you and to prevent any complications that may arise due to blocked fallopian tubes. Let’s take a look at these complications before moving on to know the treatment options.

Complications of Blocked Tubes

The complication a blocked fallopian tube most frequently leads to is an ectopic pregnancy. In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilised egg is implanted in a place other than the uterus; in this case, in the blocked tube. This kind of pregnancy is not a viable one and can be life-threatening for the mother. The chances of an ectopic pregnancy increase if surgery is performed to partially remove the affected tube. It is usually recommended that women who have or have had this complication opt for an IVF (in vitro fertilisation).

Treatment for Blocked Fallopian Tubes

Treatment for blocked fallopian tubes is available, but this depends on the extent to which the tubes are blocked. If only one of the two fallopian tubes is blocked, then you have chances of getting pregnant, without a lot of external help, as during ovulation, the ovary alternates between both tubes. Here are a few lines of treatment which may be recommended:

  • Infertility drugs can be administered to elevate your chance of getting pregnant.
  • If your fallopian tube blockage is due to scar tissue, then a laparoscopic treatment can be conducted to remove the tissue and clear the blockage.
  • Salpingectomy is another surgical procedure, where a part of the fallopian tube (usually the blocked part) is removed, while the rest of the fallopian tubes are connected and fixed back.
  • Fimbrioplasty is performed if there is damage to the fimbriae. With the help of this procedure, the scar tissue that is stuck to the cilia and fimbriae is treated.

Home Remedies to Treat Blocked Fallopian Tubes

There are several natural ways to unblock fallopian tubes; however, bear in mind that they are not proven clinically. If any of them do happen to work, the outcome may depend on the extent to which your tubes are blocked. Therefore, severe cases like extreme scar tissue blockage or damage will require surgery. These natural ways might help you if your blockage is minimum, and if only one of the two fallopian tubes is blocked. However, be sure they are approved by your doctor, especially if any infertility treatment is already being done.

  • Natural hormone balancing drugs can be administered to treat your pituitary glands, which are responsible for the hormonal activity.
  • Herbal therapy in which herbs like goldenseal, ginger root, hawthorn, peony root and wild yam are given, to increase the chances of fertility could be beneficial. These herbs work on the circulatory system, stimulate the lymphatic system, increase the progesterone levels and balance the oestrogen and testosterone levels. They are also believed to heal any adhesions and damage, bring about a reduction in congestion and inflammation, aid oxygen absorption, and improve blood flow.
  • Castor oil therapy includes externally applying the oil to the pelvic area, to help improve the circulation and heal your abdomen and pelvic tissues. Castor oil also helps in stimulating the lymphatic system, which in turn can help remove all the metabolic waste, dead cells and old tissues.

   Home Remedies to Treat Blocked Fallopian Tubes

  • Another natural way to unblock fallopian tubes includes fertility or abdominal massages. A good massage on a regular basis will help improve your circulation and clear the blocked passages. Massages can help relieve any pain that comes with endometriosis as well. It can help break any scar tissue and ease out inflammation. It can help ease out any twisted tissues as well.
  • Fertility cleansing is another effective natural treatment. Here, the reproductive passage is cleared with the help of herbs and natural antibiotics. This treatment is almost like a detoxification process for your reproductive organs.
  • Systematic enzyme therapy, where enzymes that are found naturally in your body, are used to help break down scar tissue, clear out the blockage, relieve inflammation and cleanse the passage.

Prevention of Blocked Fallopian Tubes

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are a few preventive measures that you could take:

  • Avoid drinking and smoking.
  • Practice some meditation. This can help lower your stress levels.
  • Sign up for yoga classes, or do it at home. A few poses that can help boost the health of your reproductive organs are the butterfly pose and bridge pose.
  • Avoid excessive consumption of junk foods. Include foods like fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables and coconut oils; these are rich in antioxidants. Citrus foods, eggs, mangoes, zucchini and spinach, are rich in carotenoids, which help your enzymes and circulation as well.
  • Increase your intake of Vitamin C – it helps ease out inflammation.

As mentioned before, getting pregnant with blocked fallopian tubes is hard, but not impossible, especially if this condition gets treated early. Review your condition with your doctor, and see what works best for you. Living a healthy life, complete with a good diet and a regular exercise regime can prove to be helpful as well.

Also Read: A Complete Guide to Pre-Pregnancy Check-Up & Tests

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