The fallopian tubes run from the ovaries to the uterus. Each month, an ovary releases an egg to the fallopian tube, and eggs are fertilized in the tubes before moving to the uterus when pregnancy occurs. Blocked fallopian tubes are not an uncommon fertility problem. They can occur for a variety of reasons, including – but not limited to – having had a sexually transmitted infection in the past.
Causes of Blocked Fallopian Tubes
There are a variety of reasons that a fallopian tube may become blocked. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is one of the most common causes. PID occurs after an infection in the reproductive tract. Frequently, this infection is an STD, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. Sometimes, infections such as a yeast infection can also cause PID. PID causes scarring and build-up in the tubes and reproductive tract. The more instances of PID that occur, the higher the chances of blockage.
Ectopic pregnancies can also result in fallopian tube damage. An ectopic pregnancy is any pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus, most commonly on the fallopian tubes. This can cause permanent scarring, potentially resulting in blockage.
Less commonly, blocked tubes can be caused by a range of other issues. For example, an abdominal infection such as peritonitis can cause blockage.
Effects on Fertility
If only one fallopian tube is blocked, then you should be able to get pregnant without any problems as long as the associated ovary is functioning well. However, if both tubes are blocked, it might not be possible for you to get pregnant without treatment. If you’re having trouble getting pregnant and your doctor suspects tubal blockage, they may use medical imaging and other diagnostic tests to confirm the issue.
There are a number of treatment options. One of the simplest options is to “recanalize” the fallopian tube, which can be done with a minimally invasive procedure. If this type of treatment is unfeasible or ineffective, methods like in vitro fertilization (IVF) can often be utilized to great effect.
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