Blocked Fallopian tubes are responsible for 20% of cases of female infertility. This silent condition usually isn’t discovered until you try to conceive. Blocked Fallopian tubes also increase your risk of an ectopic pregnancy because the fertilized egg can’t travel to the uterus.
In the case of an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg implants in the Fallopian tube or elsewhere in the abdominal cavity, because it can’t reach the uterus due to the blockage in the tube. Ectopic pregnancy is a potentially life threatening condition which requires immediate surgery. The surgery may result in one or both Fallopian tubes being removed including any other tissue the fertilized egg is attached to. This is why it’s important to have an ultrasound asap after your pregnancy has been confirmed with a blood test. Your doctor will be able to see if the embryo is in the uterus – where it should be – or elsewhere. The smaller the embryo the less threat to your life and the smaller the damage from surgery.
To understand how a fallopian tube can become blocked you first need to understand a bit about the anatomy of these fascinating structures.
Fallopian tubes are very tiny and narrow, measuring 10 centimeters (4 inches) in length and width of a regular spaghetti. Inside this 10cm long spaghetti is a narrow passage the size of a sewing needle. The mature egg which needs to get through the tube is roughly the size of the full stop appears at the end of this sentence. So as you can imagine, it doesn’t take much to block such a narrow space.
Inside the Fallopian tube are small fingerlike projections called cilia. Their job is to move the egg along the tube down into the uterus. The cilia are also found elsewhere in the body – for example in the lungs where they move impurities and mucus out of the lungs. In addition to housing cilia the tubes are lined with mucus to help the egg slide along them. The end of the tube near the ovary contains very slippery mucus to ensure the egg can slide in quickly. The end of the tube closer to the uterus contains thicker mucus to prevent the egg for reaching the uterus too soon. This is to allow sufficient time for the endometrium to thicken to sustain implantation and pregnancy. Nature is so clever and amazing!
Any mucus producing organ can become blocked. Take your nose for example. When you get a bad cold your nose can become so blocked with mucus that you can no longer breathe though it.
Or alternatively if you get hay-fever or another allergic reaction your nose can run profusely.
The same can happen in any mucus lined tissue/organ in your body; in your lungs, in your gut, in your vagina and in your fallopian tubes.
The most common factors which can affect the thickness of the mucus and contribute to blocked fallopian tubes are:
Other more serious causes of blocked fallopian tubes are:
Some of these causes can lead to scarring and adhesions which can pull on and distort the fallopian tubes, in which case they may need to be removed surgically with laparoscopy.
You can also have an HSG (Hysterosalpingogram) procedure which is used to see if your tubes are blocked and can also be used to treat the blocked fallopian tubes by rinsing them with saline solution during the procedure.
Do you have blocked fallopian tubes? Have you used a medical or a natural method to help you unblock the tubes? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Iva Keene MRMed. ND. is an internationally recognized Natural Fertility specialist and Naturopathic Physician who has helped thousands of couples with fertility problems through her published information and personalized coaching programs. Her Free Fertility Coaching mini-course uses her research and clinical experience to help you be more empowered, more fertile and have a healthier baby.