The fallopian tubes are the gateway to fertilization. This pair of female reproductive organs connects the ovaries to the uterus. During the conception process, fertilized eggs use the fallopian tubes as a tunnel to travel to the womb. Once a fertilized egg reaches the uterus, it can implant and begin to develop into human life.
When your fallopian tubes become blocked, this process becomes much more difficult. In fact, fallopian tube blockages are one of the most common causes of infertility. This condition is also associated with other reproductive health issues like:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Certain sexually transmitted infections
Let’s take a closer look at some of the common causes, symptoms, and relief options for blocked fallopian tubes.
What Causes Blocked Fallopian Tubes?
Blocked fallopian tubes, also known as hydrosalpinx, can occur for many reasons. But, the most common cause of this condition is scar tissue build-up, which can halt the normal functioning of this important reproductive organ.
Certain health conditions can cause scar tissue to accumulate and block the fallopian tubes. Additionally, abdominal surgeries can leave scar tissue in and around the fallopian tubes from the inside or outside. When the healing process of procedures like c-sections, appendectomies, and gynecologic procedures gets delayed, pelvic adhesions can begin to form. Over time, new layers of scar tissue can start to develop over the existing layer of damaged tissue. This build-up causes the fallopian tubes and other organs in the area to attach to one another.
When any of these scenarios happen, it becomes much more difficult for fertilized eggs to travel down the fallopian tubes to the uterus.
What are the Common Signs of Blocked Fallopian Tubes?
Many women don’t find out about their blocked fallopian tubes until they start their fertility journey. Since fallopian tube blockages are a common cause of infertility, it’s one of the first things that many doctors check for when a woman has trouble conceiving.
Aside from the fertility issues that come along with blocked fallopian tubes, this condition is usually asymptomatic. But, it’s not uncommon for a woman with a fallopian tube blockage to notice occasional pelvic pain or pressure. Oftentimes though, this pain actually stems from another symptomatic health issue.
One example of a health issue that can signal the presence of a fallopian tube blockage is an ectopic pregnancy. This condition occurs when a scar tissue blockage traps a fertilized egg in one of the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancies are usually discovered during pelvic scans, and they can cause symptoms like:
- Pelvic pain
- Vaginal bleeding
How are Blocked Fallopian Tubes Treated?
Although blocked fallopian tubes can cause many problems, they are treatable. Those who suffer from fallopian tube blockages have many possible relief options available:
If the scar tissue blocking your fallopian tubes is small enough, it can be removed through a surgical procedure called a neosalpingostomy. This procedure involves opening the tubes to remove the excess scar tissue. Outcomes for this procedure are best for younger women whose fallopian tubes have not experienced significant damage.
Systemic Enzyme Therapy
Systemic enzyme supplements are a non-invasive treatment option for blocked fallopian tubes. For some women, systemic enzyme supplements can decrease or eliminate fallopian tube blockages by assisting with the breakdown of scar tissue in the area. Systemic enzymes may also reduce inflammation and improve circulation to the fallopian tubes. You can find systemic enzyme supplements online or over the counter. Some of the most effective brands are Vitälzym and Wobenzym.
Although systemic enzyme supplements are generally safe, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before testing out any new supplements or therapies.
In Vitro Fertilization
This procedure does not affect the fallopian tubes, but it can reduce their role in causing infertility. This procedure allows you to bypass the fallopian tubes and have harvested fertilized eggs implanted directly into the uterus. In some cases, it’s helpful to have damaged areas of the fallopian tubes removed before beginning IVF treatment to prevent fluid buildup and infection.
To Sum It Up
Hydrosalpinx, or blocked fallopian tubes, is a common health issue that affects many women. If you suspect that a blockage is affecting your fallopian tubes, be sure to chat with your doctor about which relief options are best for you.