Diagnosis and Treatment of Fallopian Tube Blockages

Many women who have been struggling to conceive may be surprised to learn that they suffer from blocked fallopian tubes. Blocked fallopian tubes can greatly reduce the odds of the woman conceiving and may require surgery in order to improve the chances of conception.

What are blocked fallopian tubes?
The fallopian tubes span from the ovaries to the uterus and are responsible for allowing the egg to travel from the ovaries to the uterus. The fallopian tubes also serve as the site for fertilization, after which, the fertilized egg travels to the uterus and embeds into the endometrial lining. When the fallopian tubes are blocked, the egg and sperm are unable to unite within the fallopian tubes, and the egg is then unable to travel to the uterus. Blockages are usually the result of scar tissue forming within the fallopian tubes following infection or surgery.

How are blocked fallopian tubes determined?
A blockage in the fallopian tubes is typically detected by a test known as a hysterosalpingogram (HSG). During a hysterosalpingogram an X-ray of the uterus is conducted after a special dyed fluid is injected into the uterus. This fluid is then observed to determine if it flows through and out of the fallopian tubes or not. If it fails to do so, the problem is usually a blocked fallopian tube, and further testing and procedures may reveal more.

How are fallopian tube blockages treated?
Some couples who find themselves unable to become pregnant due to a fallopian tube blockage opt for in vitro fertilization to become pregnant. This procedure, however, can be unsuccessful and due to its costly nature, many couples do not have the financial resources to attempt in vitro fertilization multiple times.

A surgical procedure known as tubal reanastomosis may be used to reverse a tubal ligation surgery, or may be used in hopes of repairing damaged portions of the fallopian tubes. During this procedure, the damaged portion of the fallopian tube is surgically removed and the two healthy sides of the tube are connected to one another.

There are several other surgical procedures that may be used to treat tubal blockages, depending on the nature and location of the blockage.

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