The fallopian tubes are part of the female reproductive system. There are two fallopian tubes in the female body, with one being located on each side of the uterus. The egg moves through the fallopian tube during a woman's reproductive cycle each month on its way to the uterus from the ovary. Sometimes, the egg gets stuck in the tube, causing a blockage. This blockage is referred to as a fallopian tube obstruction and is a common reason for female infertility.
A fallopian tube obstruction does not normally have any symptoms, although some women may experience abdominal discomfort or an abnormal vaginal discharge. Women suffering from reproductive disorders such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease may be at a greater risk of developing a fallopian tube obstruction. Other potential causes of a fallopian tube obstruction include various sexually transmitted diseases, a ruptured appendix, or a previous history of ectopic pregnancy.
If infertility becomes an issue due to a fallopian tube obstruction, there are some potential options that may help to restore fertility. In cases where only one tube is blocked, doctors may suggest waiting a while before attempting any invasive procedures aimed at clearing the obstruction. Many women with only one blocked tube will still be able to conceive naturally. If infertility continues to be an issue or if symptoms are present and bothersome, other methods of treatment may be considered.
The use of fertility drugs may be an option for some women experiencing a fallopian tube obstruction. This method is only considered if one tube remains open. This is because the reason for taking the fertility drugs is to attempt to increase the chances of ovulation on the side where there is no blockage. If both fallopian tubes are blocked, other methods of treatment can be explored. Surgery is sometimes the most appropriate method of attempting to remove the blockage.
Surgical intervention is sometimes used in order to clear a fallopian tube obstruction. During the surgery, the doctor may either work to open the tube that has become blocked or remove any adhesions or scar tissue that may be contributing to the blockage. This surgery increases the chances of a woman regaining fertility, but it is not always successful. A gynecologist, a doctor who specializes in female reproductive health, is qualified to assist the patient in finding the most appropriate treatment for her individual needs and will discuss various fertility options.