Infertility In Women: Know About Tubal Blockage And Its Effect On Fertility
In most of the infertility problems, almost 35% are caused by a tubal blockage. It refers to the blockage caused in the fallopian tube that prevents the eggs from fully fertilizing.
Tubal blockage leads to infertility in women
The problem of infertility has been on a constant rise and affects people of various age groups. Fertility problems are prevalent in women, which restricts their ability to conceive. In most of the infertility problems, almost 35% are caused by a tubal blockage. Understanding how it affects female fertility problems is essential to understand what precisely tubal blockage means. The name suggests that it refers to the blockage caused in the fallopian tube that prevents the eggs from fully fertilizing. Fallopian tubes are the most crucial part of female reproductive organs connecting with the ovaries and uterus. During the ovulation period, the fallopian tubes carry an egg from an ovary to the uterus. A blockage in the fallopian tubes prevents the sperm from meeting the eggs and move to the uterus for implantation.
What causes blockage?
There is no specific reason that leads to tubal blockage. However, there are a few factors that can be the cause of this condition:
- Sexually Transmitted Infections: STIs are one of the leading causes of tubal blockage, and infections liven chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Abdominal surgery: Any history of surgery, especially burst appendix and surgery on the fallopian tubes itself, can cause pelvic adhesions or scarring.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease: This is usually caused by STI. This condition causes hydrosalpinx (scarring) in the fallopian tubes, ultimately resulting in tubal blockage. Any past abdominal surgery also causes it.
- Endometriosis- This is another common cause of tubal blockage where endometrial tissue starts to build up inside the fallopian tubes, causing a blockage. These tissues are generally found on the outer side of other organs and the fallopian tube.
- Hydrosalpinx- In this condition, fallopian tubes start swelling due to a massive amount of fluid build-up at the end.
- Ectopic pregnancy- It is a condition in which the fetus starts to develop in a fallopian tube and can cause scarring to the organ. Any history of this condition can cause tubal blockage.
- Fibroids- These are abnormal growths that develop in the uterus and can cause blockage in the fallopian tube where they connect to the uterus.
How to identify this condition?
One of the most severe problems of tubal blockage is that it does not have any underlying symptoms and can go unnoticed for an extended period. In most cases, women are not even aware that they are suffering from tubal blockage problems. One of the most common symptoms of this condition can be the inability to conceive despite regular attempts. While in some other cases, women may even experience abdominal and pelvic pain. Also, other conditions that cause tubal blockage can have their symptoms. Conditions like endometriosis often cause very painful and heavy period cycles along with pelvic pain.
What are the complications of tubal blockage?
The complications of tubal blockage include:
- Unable to conceive or get pregnant
- Scarring tissues
- Damage to other organs
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Internal bleeding
- Infection to the reproductive system
What are the treatment options and ways to manage it?
Even though this condition's symptoms are primarily invisible, specific preventive measures can reduce the chances of tubal blockage. Our lifestyle and food habits can, directly and indirectly, help in managing this fertility issue. In case of underlying symptoms, like pelvic or abdominal pain, one must get diagnosed at the earliest. Ignorance of these warning signs can only make the condition worse. Therefore, it is always recommended to undergo frequent check-ups and look out for STIs.
Even if a person is diagnosed with tubal blockage, there is still hope for hopeful parents to get themselves treated medically. There are a variety of options which include the following:
- In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)- This is one of the most popular methods for dealing with tubal blockage conditions. Assisted reproductive technology can enable the chances of conceiving even if repair surgery is not successful.
- Surgeries- Depending upon the cases, different surgical options for opening the fallopian tube, repair tubes damaged caused by ectopic pregnancy or infection, and Laparoscopic surgery can also help treat these conditions.
- IUI- Intrauterine insemination is a type of artificial insemination that places sperms directly in the uterus when the ovary releases one or more eggs to be fertilized.
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)- This treatment can be combined with IVF and is used to manually inject a single sperm into the center of the egg, allowing the fertilization to occur.
(Dr (Prof) Vinita Das, Consultant & Advisor, Birla Fertility & IVF)
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