This article is about a condition called hydrosalpinx and how it may be caused or exacerbated by a fallopian tube infection.
What is Hydrosalpinx?
When a woman suffers from this disorder, she has a blocked fallopian tube. As the first part of its name suggests, the blockage contains a watery fluid. The condition is often caused by an infection in the fallopian tube, including an infection caused by a sexually transmitted disease. It is also a risk for a woman who has had surgery in that area of her body, who has had a ruptured appendix or who suffers from endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition where pieces of the lining of the uterus wash back into the pelvic area instead of being shed every month. Some endometrial tissue can end up in the fallopian tubes and cause an infection or inflammation.
What are the Symptoms?
Some women with the condition are asymptomatic, while other women have recurring pain in their pelvic area or lower abdomen. Because the blockage stops the egg from traveling down the fallopian tube, it is difficult for the woman to get pregnant. This is true even if the blockage is only in one fallopian tube, for an infection can strike both tubes. When the inflammation and infection heal, one or both tubes close up, which leads to infertility. Even if the unblocked tube releases an egg and it is fertilized, fluid from the blocked tube can make it difficult for the fertilized egg to implant in the uterus.
How is the Condition Diagnosed?
A blocked fallopian tube can be diagnosed through ultrasound or a hysterosalpingogram, which is a type of X-ray that uses a contrast medium. Sometimes a doctor needs to perform a laparoscopy to find a blocked fallopian tube. This is an operation where the doctor uses a fiber optic tube and a monitor to see the patient’s affected fallopian tube. If it is seen to be blocked, it is possible to treat it during the surgery.
What are the Remedies?
Some women consider IVF, or in-vitro fertilization to get pregnant if they have a blocked fallopian tube. However, the blocked tube still needs to be treated or removed even if the woman is considering IVF. Once again, fluid from the damaged tube can stop implantation or put the pregnancy at risk of miscarriage.
Another remedy for a blocked fallopian tube besides removal is sclerotherapy. This sounds familiar because a version of it is often used to treat varicose veins. In this case, the doctor draws the fluid from the tube through a sclerotizing agent. The tube is irritated and shuts down. As it does this, it ejects its fluid.
Another treatment is laparoscopic salpingostomy. The doctor makes a tiny incision in the fallopian tube and lets it drain. Then, they clip the tube to prevent fluid from entering the woman’s uterus. The drawback with this treatment is that the fluid often returns.
According to research, the rate of successful IVF pregnancies after sclerotherapy or laparoscopic salpingostomy is between 38 and 40 percent.