Fallopian tubes are female reproductive organs that connect the ovaries and the uterus. Every month during ovulation, which occurs roughly in the middle of a menstrual cycle, the fallopian tubes carry an egg from an ovary to the uterus.
Conception also happens in the fallopian tube. If an egg is fertilized by sperm, it moves through the tube to the uterus for implantation.
If a fallopian tube is blocked, the passage for sperm to get to the eggs, as well as the path back to the uterus for the fertilized egg, is blocked. Common reasons for blocked fallopian tubes include scar tissue, infection, and pelvic adhesions.
SYMPTOMS OF BLOCKED FALLOPIAN TUBES
Blocked fallopian tubes don’t often cause symptoms. Many women don’t know they have blocked tubes until they try to get pregnant and have trouble.
In some cases, blocked fallopian tubes can lead to mild, regular pain on one side of the abdomen.
This usually happens in a type of blockage called a hydrosalpinx. This is when fluid fills and enlarges a blocked fallopian tube.
Conditions that can lead to a blocked fallopian tube can cause their own symptoms.
For example, endometriosis often causes very painful and heavy periods and pelvic pain. It can increase your risk for blocked fallopian tubes.
EFFECT ON FERTILITY
Blocked fallopian tubes are a common cause of infertility. Sperm and an egg meet in the fallopian tube for fertilization. A blocked tube can prevent them from joining.
If both tubes are fully blocked, pregnancy without treatment will be impossible. If the fallopian tubes are partially blocked, you can potentially get pregnant.
However, the risk of an ectopic pregnancy increases.
This is because it’s harder for a fertilized egg to move through a blockage to the uterus. In these cases, your doctor might recommend in vitro fertilization (IVF), depending on whether treatment is possible.
If only one fallopian tube is blocked, the blockage most likely won’t affect fertility because an egg can still travel through the unaffected fallopian tube. Fertility drugs can help increase your chance of ovulating on the open side.