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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.
What causes blocked Fallopian tubes?
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!
What can go wrong and lead to blocked fallopian tubes?
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.
What causes mucus in blocked Fallopian tubes?
The most common factors which can affect the thickness of the mucus and contribute to blocked fallopian tubes are:
- Dehydration – If you are dehydrated, your body has less ‘raw material’ – water – to produce mucus. Diets rich in sugar and salt, heated and air-conditioned rooms, coffee, exercise, alcohol and certain drugs can dehydrate you and increase your body’s demand for water.
- Diet – What you eat on a regular basis can impact the thickness of your mucus. For example dairy is known for making nasal and lung congestion worse. Dairy can also thicken your cervical mucus making it harder for the sperm to swim. Dairy can also thicken the mucus in your fallopian tubes making it harder for the sperm to enter and the egg to reach the uterus. Hence, dairy is a common contributor to blocked fallopian tubes. Your small intestine, where the nutrients from food are absorbed, will also struggle to do it’s work if there is a thick mucus coating covering the absorption points.
- Pharmaceutical drugs – Some pharmaceutical drugs and over the counter drugs can thicken your mucus and contribute to blocked fallopian tubes. Especially cold and flu medicine which can make the mucus thicker or more viscous depending on the type of cough you have (dry or productive).
- Lifestyle choices (coffee, alcohol and smoking) – Coffee and alcohol are known diuretics. Caffeine acts as a diuretic making you urinate more often and alcohol dehydrates you and blocks the activity of your ADH (anti-diuretic hormone) which stops you from loosing fluids. Smoking paralyzes the cilia in your lungs and the cilia in your fallopian tubes preventing them from pushing the egg and mucus along the tube.
- Infection – (pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and the IUD) Some STD’s and infections are silent and go unnoticed, others can be very painful and you know you had them. IUD’s are uterine irritants leading to a greater risk of infection and more mucus production in the area which, in turn, increases the risk of blocked fallopian tubes.
Other more serious causes of blocked fallopian tubes are:
- Abdominal surgery
- Traumatic vaginal birth of the first child
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.
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Natural blocked Fallopian tube treatments
- Stop eating mucus producing foods such as dairy and soy.
- If you are taking any pharmaceutical drugs check with the pharmacist whether it has any properties which could affect your mucus.
- Stop smoking.
- Stop drinking coffee.
- Stop drinking alcohol.
- Drink more water.
- Eat more garlic to naturally prevent bacterial infections.
- Use castor oil packs.
- Exercise regularly to improve your circulation and get the lymph moving.
- Get an abdominal massage or use a self-massage video at home which I recommend.
- Get an acupuncture treatment to help move Qi (i.e. blood and mucus).
- Visualize your fallopian tubes clear and the fertilized egg smoothly rolling down into the uterus.
How To Unblock Fallopian Tubes Naturally With Herbs
Having a consultation with a Naturopath who specialises in fertility will allow you to take a herbal mixture that is specific to you. However, there are also easily accessible herbs, which may also be beneficial.
These herbs increase circulation, reduce inflammation and may reduce mucous in the fallopian tubes. They include Turmeric, Ginger, Cinnamon and Cayenne. These herbs are similar to the ingredients of the ‘spicy fertility tea’ and can be made the same way. Enjoy a cup of this tea twice a day and you’ll be on your way to reducing inflammation and mucous in your fallopian tubes.
You can also include these herbs and spices in your cooking on a regular basis.
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!
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