Of all the female reproductive organs, fallopian tubes are probably the most delicate and, yet, often the least considered. These important, slender tubes play an out-of-proportion role in conception and implantation.
Eggs and sperm meet in a fallopian tube, where conception occurs. And then, the fertilized egg (i.e., zygote) travels down the tube to implant itself in your uterus.
If your tubes are blocked, scarred, or damaged, the sperm may never reach the egg. Or, if an egg is fertilized, it may not be unable make it down into the uterus.
At OC Fertility in Newport Beach, California, our female infertility specialists Sharon Moayeri, MD, and Nidhee Sachdev, MD, diagnose and treat damaged fallopian tubes. If you have fallopian damage, here’s what to know and do.
What can damage a fallopian tube?
If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, either one or both of your fallopian tubes may be damaged or blocked. Infections can cause scarring in your tubes, which makes it difficult for sperm or eggs to pass through. Common causes of fallopian tube scarring include:
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Ruptured appendix
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
An ectopic preganacy can also damage your fallopian tubes. This occurs when the zygote implants in the tube rather than traveling down to the uterus. Ectopic pregnancies are life-threatening and must be terminated.
Abdominal surgery and pelvic trauma could also damage your tubes. Endometriosis that affects fallopian tubes might cause them to scar and close.
How to tell if your fallopian tubes are blocked
If you’re suffering from fertility problems, one of the first tests we perform examines the patency of your fallopian tubes. The fallopian tubes are involved in about 25%-30% of all cases of female infertility.
You usually can’t tell on your own if your tubes are blocked. However, if you have severe tubal damage, you may also have pelvic pain.
The test we use to examine your fallopian tubes is called a hysterosalpingogram (HSG). An HSG is a kind of moving X-ray that allows us to watch as we inject a dye into your tubes to find out if it can travel all the way through and come out the other end.
If the dye passes freely, then your tube is clear. If the dye is unable to pass through the tube, then we know that it’s blocked. You may have one blocked tube or two.
What to do if your tubes are blocked
If you only have a minimal amount of scar tissue on your tube, we may be able to remove it with a simple surgery. However, surgery increases your chances of a dangerous ectopic pregnancy.
Younger women with slight scarring tend to fare best with the surgical option. If you’re older or have significant scarring, we may recommend going straight to in vitro fertilization (IVF). We may first advise removing the damaged tubes because they can affect your success rate.
With IVF, we stimulate your ovaries to produce more than one egg per cycle. We then remove the eggs and fertilize them in the lab with your partner’s sperm.
Once embryos have formed, we place a healthy one in your uterus. If the embryo implants, you are then pregnant!
Blocked fallopian tubes are not the end of your journey to having your own baby. Contact us today at 949-706-2229 for a fertility consultation. You can also book an appointment online.