Blocked Fallopian Tubes
While there are many causes of infertility, a blockage of the fallopian tubes is often the reason why many women are unable to conceive. The fallopian tubes are the pathways in which the ova travel from the ovaries down into the uterus, and if there is a blockage in these tubes it can prevent this from occurring.
The fallopian tubes can sometimes become blocked or even damaged due to certain conditions that a woman may suffer from. In rare cases, the blockage to the fallopian tubes may have been present since birth as a birth defect, but has gone undetected until the woman reached adulthood and tried to conceive.
Upon ovulation, the egg will travel from the ovary to the fallopian tubes where the sperm will meet the egg and fertilization occurs. Once fertilized the zygote (fertilized egg) is pushed through the fallopian tubes and into the uterus where implantation will occur.
The fallopian tubes connect to the uterus at the utero-tubal junction where the fallopian tubes open into the uterine cavity. These very thin tubules are lined with cilia, which are fine hair-like cells. From there they extend out and slightly around toward the ovaries on both sides of female body.
Common conditions that may cause blocked fallopian tubes are:
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
- Septic Abortus
- Complications from lower abdominal surgery such as Cesarean section
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Uterine Fibroids
- Birth defects with Fallopian Tubes
- Tubal Ligation Removal
- Genital Tuberculosis
All of these conditions can cause blockage to the fallopian tubes by having adhesions, scar tissue, tumors or polyps form inside the path of the tube. The fallopian tubes may also become stuck to other parts of the internal body; the bladder, ovaries, uterus, bowels, etc. Damaged fallopian tubes can become twisted or the walls of the tubes themselves may adhere together causing a total blockage.
Partially damaged fallopian tubes may remain open enough for pregnancy to occur, but a partial blockage increases the risk for ectopic pregnancy. The fallopian tubes are very thin to begin with it does not take much for them to become blocked, preventing the ova from traveling through.