Blocked Tubes are present in about a quarter of infertility cases.
Tubal damage can include scar tissue within the fallopian tubes or completely blocked fallopian tubes as a result of birth defect, surgery or injury from an ectopic pregnancy. Tubal damage can also be caused by pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or pelvic endometriosis.
Investigating blocked or damaged Fallopian tubes
Most obstructions occur at the fimbriated end of the fallopian tube, where the finger-like projections of the fallopian tubes help direct the egg into the uterus. Of particular concern, fimbriated obstructions can lead to fluid build-up in the fallopian tube, resulting in a hydrosalpinx.A fertility test called a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) will indicate whether the fallopian tubes (salpingitis) are blocked, particularly if the area affected is at the corneal segment of the tube where it opens to the uterus.
Common Causes of Blocked Tubes
- History of sexually transmitted disease
- History of endometriosis
- Pelvic infection or pelvic inflammatory disease
- Abdominal or pelvic surgery
- Congenital defects
- Tubal ligation
Hydrosalpinx will significantly impact IVF success rates. Dr. Rispler and Dr. Berger almost always recommends surgical removal for couples trying to conceive.
Your doctor can determine the patency (openness) of the fallopian tubes by injecting dye into the uterine cavity and observing through x-ray examination whether a normal flow through the tubes occurs.
An HSG does not always provide a conclusive reading, so your doctor may order further testing. Some patients benefit from minimally invasive laparoscopy to examine and repair blocked fallopian tubes.
Infertility may be the first sign that infection from a sexually transmitted disease like Chlamydia has damaged the fallopian tubes.
Correcting Tubal Abnormalities to Facilitate a Pregnancy
Fallopian tubes provide a concourse where ovulated egg and sperm converge, and a pathway for a fertilized egg to travel before reaching the uterus for implantation. This anatomical superhighway is essential to the reproductive process. Of all the female causes of infertility, tubal abnormalities are the most common, and one of the most complex to correct.