Fallopian tubes are female reproductive organs. They connect the ovaries and the uterus. Every month during ovulation (this happens roughly in the middle of a menstrual cycle) the fallopian tubes carry an egg from an ovary to the uterus. Also, conception happens in the fallopian tubes. If the egg is fertilized by sperm, then it moves through the tube to the uterus for implantation.
If the Fallopian tube is blocked, then a passage for sperm to urge to the eggs, as well as the path back to the uterus for the embryo is blocked. The most common reasons for blocked fallopian tubes include pelvic adhesions, infection, and scar tissue.
Blocked Fallopian Tubes:
Often, blocked fallopian tubes do not cause symptoms. Many women do not know that they have blocked tubes until they try to get pregnant and have troubles. In some cases, this condition can lead to mild and regular pain on the side of the abdomen. Usually, this happens in a type of blockage known as hydrosalpinx. This is happening when the fluid fills and enlarges a blocked fallopian tube.
Some conditions which can lead to blocked fallopian tubes can cause their own symptoms. For example, endometriosis is causing very heavy and painful periods and pelvic pain and this condition can increase your risk of getting fallopian tubes.
Usually, fallopian tubes are blocked by scar tissue or pelvic adhesions. Blocked fallopian tubes can be caused by many factors, such as
- Past abdominal surgery: If you have past surgery, especially on the fallopian tubes themselves, then this can lead to pelvic adhesions that block the tubes.
- Certain STIs: Some sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause scarring and lead to pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Endometriosis: The endometrial tissue can build up within the fallopian tubes and cause a blockage. The endometrial tissue on the outside of other organs can also cause adhesions that block the fallopian tubes.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease: This type of disease can cause scarring or hydrosalpinx.
- Fibroids: These are growths that can block the fallopian tube, particularly where they attach to the uterus.
- Past ectopic pregnancy: This condition can scar the fallopian tubes.
In many cases, you cannot prevent the causes of blocked fallopian tubes. But, you can decrease your risk of getting some sexually transmitted disease by using a condom during sex.
Effect on fertility:
One of the most common causes of infertility is the blocked fallopian tubes. An egg and sperm meet in the fallopian tube for fertilization. But, if a woman has a blocked tube, then it can prevent them from joining. If both fallopian tubes in a woman are blocked, then pregnancy without treatment will be impossible. If your fallopian tubes are partially blocked, then you can potentially get pregnant. But, still the risk for an ectopic pregnancy increases.
This is happening because it is harder for a fertilized egg to move through a blockage to the uterus. If this is your case, then your doctor might recommend IVF (in vitro fertilization), depending on whether treatment is possible. If you have only one blocked fallopian tube, then the blockage will not affect fertility because an egg can travel still through the unaffected fallopian tube. Also, fertility drugs can help to increase your chance of ovulation on the open side.
Possibility of pregnancy:
When you follow a treatment for a blocked fallopian tube, then you have a chance of getting pregnant. The treatment method used for the blocked fallopian tubes and the severity of the block will give your chances for pregnancy. When the blockage is near the uterus, then the pregnancy has more chances to be successful. A success rate is lower if the blockage is at the end of the fallopian tube near the ovary.
Your possibilities of getting pregnant after surgery for tubes damaged by an infection or ectopic pregnancy are small. This depends on how much of the tube must be removed and what part is removed. You need to talk with your doctor before treatment to understand your chances of a successful pregnancy.