The fallopian tubes, also known as uterine tubes, are muscular 'J-shaped' tubes in women's bodies lined with fine hair-like structures. Uterine tubes connect the uterus to the ovaries. The fallopian tubes are an essential pathway for an egg to begin its journey from the ovaries to the uterus. They are also the passage for the sperm to travel from the uterus to the egg. Therefore, any problem in the fallopian tubes can lead to fertility problems.
One of the main reasons for female infertility is uterine tube issues, including; fallopian tube blockageor hydrosalpinx, i.e., the swollen and fluid-filled tube. Tubal factor infertility occurs when the blocked fallopian tubes prevent the egg and sperm from meeting. Some risk factors increase the chance of developing this problem.
In other words, if the fallopian tubes are blocked due to factors such as scar tissue, infection, pelvic adhesions, and surgery, the pathway of sperm and egg to meet, as well as the path for the fertilized egg to return to the uterus, is blocked, which will cause female infertility.
What Is the Blocked Fallopian Tube?
The pregnancy usually starts when sperm and an egg join in the fallopian tubes, followed by embryo implantation and growth in the uterus. However, a blockage in the fallopian tubes prevents the egg and sperm from meeting. Therefore, Tubal factor (blocked fallopian) infertility occurs.
Blocked fallopian tubes or Hydrosalpinx can occur entirely or partially. A partial blockage can cause the fertilized egg to get stuck in the tube, increasing the risk of ectopic pregnancy.
According to the sources, the incidence of fallopian tube blockagein infertile women is 30%., 19%of which occurs in women with primary infertility and 29% in those with secondary infertility.
What Are Blocked Fallopian Tubes Symptoms?
According to the research, there is no clear and specific symptom for the blockage of the fallopian tubes. Many women do not know they have blocked tubes until they have trouble getting pregnant after trying for months. However, the followings are the most common symptoms of blocked fallopian tubes:
- Pain in the lower abdomen that becomes severe before and during menstruation;
- Abnormal vaginal discharge;
- Mild and regular pain in the pelvis or abdomen;
- Ectopic pregnancy;
- Pain on one side of the body;
- Vaginal bleeding.
What Causes Blocked Fallopian Tubes?
Fallopian tubes are usually blocked by scar tissue or pelvic adhesions. Furthermore, some diseases' subsequent complications can increase the risk of fallopian tube problems.
- Endometriosis leads to painful periods and pelvic pain;
- A previous ectopic pregnancy that may scar the fallopian tubes;
- Past abdominal surgery can lead to pelvic adhesions and block the tubes;
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): causes scar formation;
- Uterine fibroids and their noncancerous growths in the uterus on either side of the fallopian tubes;
- Past ruptured appendix;
- Previous tubal ligation, followed by a reversal surgery to unblock them that may damage one of the tubes.
- Certain sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea cause scarring and may lead to pelvic inflammatory disease.
How to Diagnose Blocked Uterine Tubes?
The below procedures are performed to examine whether the fallopian tubes are blocked.
Hysterosalpingography (HSG or uterus color image)
In this procedure, contrast media is injected by a catheter through the vagina into the uterus. As this contrast, media fills the uterine cavity and the fallopian tubes, high-resolution X-ray images are taken to give the doctor the necessary information about the uterus and fallopian tubes. HSG takes less than 5 minutes to perform and is usually done after menstruation and ovulation.
Hydrosonography (fluid ultrasound)
As a good alternative to uterus color image, the procedure involves a saline injection into the endometrial cavity and uses ultrasound to take images of the uterine tubes. This procedure can be performed in the doctor's office.
The laparoscopy procedure is used to evaluate blocked uterine tubes more accurately. The doctor can also remove the blockage during the same procedure. During laparoscopy, the surgeon makes a small incision near the belly button and inserts a small camera into the body. It helps them to visualize the tubes and take the necessary measures directly. Although laparotomy is an invasive procedure, it is not used as the first-line treatment for blocked fallopian tubes.
How to Get Pregnant with Blocked Fallopian Tubes?
If both fallopian tubes are completely blocked, it will not be possible to get pregnant naturally until one or both is unblocked. If the tubes are partially blocked, it is still possible to get pregnant, although this can increase the risk of tubal pregnancy. In other words, natural pregnancy is possible with only one blocked uterine tube because fertilization can occur inside the other tube.
There are various treatments for getting pregnant naturally with blocked fallopian tubes. They vary from low-complex therapies like taking medications for inducing ovulation to more complex ones like IVF (in vitro fertilization).
Can I Get Pregnant with Blocked Fallopian Tubes?
Luckily, if the fallopian tubes are blocked, pregnancy is still possible. Still, the chance of pregnancy highly depends on the treatment method, the severity of the blockage, and how well the ovaries respond to fertility drugs. The closer the blockage to the uterus, the higher the chance of pregnancy. On the other hand, if the blockage is near the ovaries, it’s less likely for the couple to get pregnant.
Moreover, the chance of getting pregnant is small if the tubes are damaged due to infection or ectopic pregnancy. Therefore, you need to discuss your chance of successful pregnancy before starting the treatment.
IVF with Damaged or Blocked Fallopian Tubes
IVF is the best method for women with damaged or blocked fallopian tubes who wish to get pregnant instead of using the surrogacy method. Even if someone has no fallopian tubes, she may be able to get pregnant through IVF because, in this method, the embryo is placed right into the mother’s uterus, and there is no need for the embryo (or sex cells) to travel through the fallopian tubes.
Despite being highly useful, IVF with damaged or blocked fallopian tubes may cause OHSS, multiple pregnancies, infection of reproductive tracts, damage to the pelvis, and internal bleeding. Also, if you have a tubal infection, you cannot receive IVF treatment until your infection is fully treated.
What Are Fallopian Tubes Obstruction Treatment Types?
The success of treatment for blocked fallopian tubes depends on the location of the blockage, the patient's age, sperm health, and scar size.
Treating blocked fallopian tubes can be done through the below procedures.
- Opening the blocked uterine tube surgically, depending on the scar size and the blockage location;
- Removing scar tissue;
- Creating a new opening in the part of the tube by laparoscopy;
- Using the Hydrotubation method;
- Using infertility treatment methods such as IVF in women over 35 years old - in case of complete blockage of the tubes.
It should also be noted that if only a part of the fallopian tube is blocked, the doctor can treat the obstruction and infection of the fallopian tubes by removing the damaged part and joining the healthy parts together.
What Are the Natural Treatments for Blocked Fallopian Tubes?
Here are some home remedies that can treat blocked fallopian tubes. However, you must consult a doctor about them in advance:
- Include vitamin C-rich foods in your diet
Vitamin C boosts immunity and is essential for iron absorption. Fallopian tube blockages caused by infections can heal with sufficient vitamin C-rich foods. Citrus fruits, strawberries, green peppers, and kiwis are rich in Vitamin C.
- Take vitamin D
Vitamin D helps produce estrogen and is a powerful regulator of gene expression in the proximal reproductive tract. To feed vitamin D receptors, enjoy daily sun exposure of 10-15 minutes, eat vitamin D-rich foods such as egg yolks and salmon, and take vitamin D supplements with the doctor's advice.
- Eat ginger root
Ginger is known to improve blood circulation. So it will help reduce inflammation and prevent uterine tube blockage. Add a tablespoon of grated ginger to 2 cups of boiling water. Let it steep for 10 minutes, and then taste it with honey 2-3 times daily.
- Do Yoga
Yoga and meditation can help relieve any inflammation in the fallopian tubes.
- Have reflexology
Reflexology prevents the blockage of the tubes by applying pressure on specific lymphatic and mucus reflexes on the fallopian tubes.
- Get therapeutic massages
Massage helps reduce inflammation or scar tissue and improves blood circulation and reproductive organs' function.
- Use Castor Oil
Castor oil has some medicinal properties that open blocked fallopian tubes.
- Quit smoking and drinking
Smoking and drinking cause stress, and quitting them will reduce the risk of fallopian tube blockage.
Other factors such as sufficient sleep, herbal medicines, light exercises like stretching, and managing stress also help treat blocked fallopian tubes.
What Are the Complications of Blocked Fallopian Tube Treatment?
Possible side effects of blocked uterine tube treatment procedures are as the following:
- Damage to organs;
- Increasing the scar size;
- Ectopic pregnancy;
- Fallopian tube loss due to surgery;
How to Prevent Fallopian Tube Blockage?
In most cases, fallopian tube blockage is caused by pelvic infections. Therefore, the best prevention method is checking for infection symptoms and treating them promptly. On the other hand, some infections do not reveal any symptoms; they may cause inflammation and scarring in the tubes. In such cases, the patient should seek treatment as soon as she finds out about the blockage or scarring. You should also consider the following points to prevent fallopian tube blockage:
- Regular screening to check for sexually transmitted diseases;
- Early treatment of infectious diseases to improve scar tissue;
- Use of antibiotics immediately after infection diagnosis;
- Early treatment of pelvic pain as well as genital pain during intercourse;
- Early treatment or consultation with a doctor regarding abnormal vaginal discharge, nausea, and abdominal pain.
The Bottom Line
Blocked fallopian tubes are a common cause of infertility in women. However, the advancement of technology in the medical industry has made this condition not to be a significant obstacle in pregnancy. You can get pregnant despite the blockage of the fallopian tubes with the help of one of assisted reproductive technologies, such as IVF, after visiting a doctor and performing the necessary tests.
If your fallopian tubes are blocked by small amounts of scar tissue or adhesions, your doctor can use laparoscopic surgery to remove the blockage and open the tubes. If your fallopian tubes are blocked by large amounts of scar tissue or adhesions, treatment to remove the blockages may not be possible.Can blocked fallopian tubes be unblocked by medicine? ›
The doctor can recommend medical treatments to unblock or remove the fallopian tubes or otherwise increase the likelihood of pregnancy. A woman should see their doctor if they become pregnant following surgery to the fallopian tubes.What is the best treatment for blocked fallopian tubes? ›
In order to treat hydrosalpinx, which is when the fallopian tubes have a blockage causing fluid buildup, a doctor generally performs either a salpingectomy or a salpingostomy. In a salpingectomy, a doctor removes part of the blocked fallopian tube.Is there a natural way to unblock fallopian tubes? ›
Increase your vitamin C intake: Vitamin C is essential for our body to absorb iron from food. Fruits like oranges and lemons are a rich source of Vitamin C, which naturally help unblock the fallopian tubes. Avoid multiple intercourses: Avoid having sex with partners. Use contraceptive options for safe intercourse.Can blocked fallopian tubes be reversed? ›
A tubal ligation reversal is a procedure to reverse a tubal ligation — when the fallopian tubes are cut or blocked to permanently prevent pregnancy. During a tubal ligation reversal, your doctor removes the obstructed area of the fallopian tubes and reattaches the fallopian tubes to allow pregnancy.Can antibiotics unblock fallopian tubes? ›
Salpingitis is inflammation of the fallopian tubes, caused by bacterial infection. Common causes of salpingitis include sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhoea and chlamydia. Salpingitis is a common cause of female infertility because it can damage the fallopian tube. Treatment options include antibiotics.What is the best way to get pregnant with blocked fallopian tube? ›
In vitro fertilization (IVF) works around blocked Fallopian tubes by developing the embryo outside of the body in a controlled laboratory setting and transferring it to the uterus through a small insemination catheter.How common are blocked fallopian tubes? ›
Approximately 1 in 4 women with infertility have a tubal blockage. This condition makes achieving pregnancy difficult (if not impossible) since healthy fallopian tubes are needed for the egg to be transported to the uterus and for fertilization to occur.How can I open my blocked tubes naturally? ›
- Vitamin C.
- Dong quai.
- Vaginal steaming.
An HSG can help your provider see if your fallopian tubes are open or blocked. This information can help your provider diagnose fertility problems. Open fallopian tubes allow a clear path for conception to occur. Sperm travel through fallopian tubes to fertilize an egg.
Ultrasound can't diagnose or rule out the following: Blocked fallopian tubes. With the exception of a hysterosalpingo-contrast sonography (HyCoSy), a basic ultrasound can't evaluate the fallopian tubes.Which homeopathic medicine is best for blocked fallopian tubes? ›
Triticum rep. 30- triticum rep is prescribed when obstruction of the fallopian tubes occurs with urinary complaints. Thiosinaminum 30- thiosinaminum is an effective remedy for fallopian tubes block when it occurs due to scar, stricture, or adhesions.What is a fertility cleanse? ›
A fertility cleanse is a natural option to increase fertility. It includes using special herbs to gently get rid of toxins and inflammation in your body that could be contributing to infertility. It has been proven that eating a healthy diet is one of the most powerful factors in increasing fertility naturally.How successful is a laparoscopy for blocked fallopian tubes? ›
The success rate of this method can be up to 85%; Laparoscopic surgery to remove adhesions of fallopian tubes and fallopian tubes: For cases where the fallopian tubes are attached due to inflammation, which can easily lead to ectopic pregnancy, the patient needs to undergo surgical dilation and removal of the fallopian ...What is the age limit for tubal reversal? ›
Other considerations for potential candidates
Ideal candidates for a tubal reversal are less than 44 years of age with a BMI under 38. Sperm quality. For patients with male partners, we do recommend sperm testing prior to a tubal reversal, but don't require it.
There's a good chance you can get a tubal ligation for free (or at a reduced price) if you have health insurance. Because of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), most insurance plans must cover all methods of birth control with no cost to you, including some female sterilization procedures.How long does it take to recover from fallopian tube blockage surgery? ›
What is the recovery time after a salpingectomy? Most people will recover within a few days from a laparoscopic salpingectomy. However, it might take up to 14 days to resume your day-to-day lifestyle. You can return to work when you are able, although you might need modifications for a short time.What STD can block fallopian tubes? ›
Chlamydia can also cause fallopian tube infection without any symptoms. PID and “silent” infection in the upper genital tract may cause permanent damage to the fallopian tubes, uterus, and surrounding tissues, which can lead to infertility. Most women infected with chlamydia or gonorrhea have no symptoms.Can you ovulate with tubal blockage? ›
If there is a blockage in one of the Fallopian tubes, the obstruction will most likely not affect fertility because the eggs can still move to the uterus through the unblocked tube. In such a case, a doctor will recommend fertility medication to increase the chances of ovulating on the unaffected side.What causes egg to get stuck in fallopian tube? ›
Causes. A tubal pregnancy — the most common type of ectopic pregnancy — happens when a fertilized egg gets stuck on its way to the uterus, often because the fallopian tube is damaged by inflammation or is misshapen. Hormonal imbalances or abnormal development of the fertilized egg also might play a role.
What Is Fallopian Tube Recanalization? Fallopian tube recanalization (FTR) is a nonsurgical procedure to clear blockages in the fallopian tubes, part of a woman's reproductive system.Can a woman with blocked fallopian tubes get pregnant? ›
Fertilization is not possible without any treatment if a woman has blocked fallopian tubes. However, if only one tube is blocked then there is a possibility for pregnancy to occur. As long as one tube is functioning and regular menstruation occurs, there is a chance of pregnancy to happen.Should blocked fallopian tubes be removed? ›
It's also recommended for women with a high risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer due to BRCA gene mutations. Removing your fallopian tubes can help prevent women from getting these types of cancers because the most severe forms of ovarian cancer often begin in the fallopian tubes.What medicine can unblock fallopian tubes? ›
Lodhra. A commonly-used Ayurvedic treatment, lodhra is sometimes recommended to boost fertility and unblock fallopian tubes.What is the main cause of blocked fallopian tube? ›
Fallopian tubes can become blocked for a range of reasons, which include: a history of pelvic infection. a previous burst appendix. having had a sexually transmitted disease, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia.How are blocked fallopian tubes cleared? ›
For a tubal blockage next to the uterus, a non-surgical procedure called selective tubal cannulation is the first treatment of choice. Using fluoroscopy or hysteroscopy to guide the tools, a doctor inserts a catheter, or cannula, through the cervix and the uterus and into the fallopian tube.What happens if left fallopian tube is blocked? ›
With a hydrosalpinx, fluid build-up blocks this passageway. A blocked fallopian tube may prevent sperm from reaching your egg. If fertilization does occur, the blockage in your fallopian tube can prevent the embryo from reaching your uterus.Does HPV cause blocked fallopian tubes? ›
The inflammation and scarring that can occur during an HPV infection may cause blockages in the fallopian tubes. This makes it more challenging – or impossible – for eggs to travel through the fallopian tubes when you ovulate.