Hydrosalpinx (Fallopian Tube Blockage): What to Expect

Hydrosalpinx: What to expect?

What is Hydrosalpinx?

The Fallopian Tubes are tubes that carry the eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. They are located at the top of your uterus. The fallopian tube carries the egg from one place inside your body to another place outside it. When fertilization occurs, these eggs will become a baby’s cells and then they will grow into a human being. If fertilization does not occur, the baby dies before birth.

In women, the fallopian tubes are lined with tiny hairs called endometrial lining. Endometrium is a thin layer of tissue that lines the uterine cavity and acts like a protective barrier between the womb and outside world. During menstruation, this lining sheds off its outer covering (endometrium) and becomes menstrual blood or “blood”. This shedding of endometrial tissue is what causes bleeding during periods.

When the Fallopian Tubes become blocked, the endometrial lining becomes clogged and cannot shed off its outer covering. This prevents the release of normal amounts of menstrual blood. These abnormal levels of blood lead to severe pain during menstruation and other unpleasant symptoms such as cramping, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and fever.

If left untreated, this condition can cause infertility. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), infertility is defined as “a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to conceive after one year of normal, unprotected sexual relations.” The Fallopian Tubes prevent Sperm from entering the Uterus.

If the blockage is not treated, women might end up having fertility problems and this means they might not be able to get pregnant after a period of time.

What are the causes of a Hydrosalpinx?

A hydrosalpinx is a fallopian tube blockage caused by an overgrowth of fluid in the fallopian tube. This overgrowth of fluid consists of water, salt, and protein.

The main causes of a hydrosalpinx are:

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) – PID is typically a bacterial infection in the female reproductive organs.

Chronic (long-term) PID

Pelvic infection following abortion, miscarriage, or delivery

Endometriosis – a gynecological disorder where the endometrium grows in areas outside the uterus such as on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other pelvic structures.

History of pelvic infection

Ectopic Pregnancy – an ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilized egg implants itself somewhere other than inside the uterus such as in the fallopian tube.

Salpingitis is inflammation or infection of the fallopian tubes.

What are the symptoms of a Hydrosalpinx?

The most common symptoms of a hydrosalpinx are pain and infertility.

Pain – Pain is experienced during periods (menstruation). The pain can become severe and is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and fever.

Infertility – Women with hydrosalpinx will often experience infertility after several years of not conceiving. In some cases, this condition can be reversed through surgery.

How is a hydrosalpinx diagnosed?

A hydrosalpinx can be diagnosed with a thorough medical history and pelvic examination. Your doctor can diagnose this condition by performing a medical diagnostic test called saline infused sonohysterogram (SIS). This test involves the introduction of sterile saline solution in to the uterus through the cervix. A ultrasound is then performed to look for blockages or any abnormalities in the shape of the fallopian tubes.

What is the treatment for a hydrosalpinx?

The main goal of treatment is to alleviate the pain and other unpleasant symptoms caused by a hydrosalpinx. This is done through surgery called Salpingectomy. This procedure involves the complete removal of the fallopian tube with the blockage. The advantage of this procedure is that it can often reverse infertility caused by hydrosalpinx. The disadvantage is that it increases the risk of an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants itself outside of the uterus such as in the ovary, fallopian tube, or cervix.

Another treatment option is called Salpingotomy. This involves making a small incision or cutting the fallopian tube to relieve the blockage. Unlike Salpingectomy, this procedure does not completely remove the fallopian tube and leaves behind a small portion of healthy tube. The advantage of this procedure is that it does not increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy.

The disadvantage is that it does not reverse infertility caused by hydrosalpinx and may not completely alleviate all the symptoms.

What is the outcome of a hydrosalpinx?

The outcome of a hydrosalpinx is mostly positive. After successful treatment through either procedure, women often no longer experience pain or other symptoms caused by a hydrosalpinx. Women who undergo either procedure also have a small chance (1-5%) of experiencing an ectopic pregnancy after the surgery.

If you experienced infertility caused by a hydrosalpinx and wish to conceive, you may be able to get pregnant naturally. However, you should consult with your doctor before trying to get pregnant.

If you experienced infertility caused by a hydrosalpinx and wish to avoid further problems, you should get treatment before trying to get pregnant.

Are there any risks to getting a hydrosalpinx?

There is a small risk of bleeding and infection associated with any surgery. Your doctor will go over all the risks and complications with you before the procedure.