Fallopian Tubes

Conditions and Disorders

What are the common conditions and disorders that affect your fallopian tubes?

Your fallopian tubes play a crucial role in enabling sperm to reach your egg and transporting a fertilized egg to your uterus. You may have trouble getting pregnant if there’s a blockage in your fallopian tubes (tubal obstruction) or a structural irregularity. Twenty to 30% of infertility cases involve problems associated with the fallopian tubes (tubal factor infertility).

Common conditions that affect your fallopian tubes include:

  • Ectopic (tubal) pregnancy: An embryo can implant in your fallopian tubes instead of in your uterine wall. These pregnancies aren’t viable and can be life-threatening without treatment.
  • Endometriosis: Out-of-place tissue from your uterus lining can block your fallopian tubes or cause scarring that makes it harder for you to become pregnant.
  • Fallopian tube cancer: Some types of cancer previously diagnosed as ovarian cancer may actually begin in your fallopian tubes. High-grade serous ovarian cancer isn’t usually diagnosed until it’s in the late stages, when the prognosis isn’t good. According to new research, it’s likely that this cancer originates in your fallopian tubes, not your ovaries.
  • Fibroids: Fibroids most commonly grow in your uterus, but they can surface in your fallopian tubes, too, blocking them.
  • Hydrosalpinx: Your fallopian tubes can become blocked with fluid build-up following an injury or an infection. The blockage may make it harder for you to become pregnant.
  • Paratubal cysts: These fluid-filled masses form near your ovaries and fallopian tubes. They’re benign (noncancerous) and usually resolve without treatment.
  • Salpingitis/Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): Inflammation of your fallopian tubes, called salpingitis, is most often caused by an infection. Salpingitis is a type of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Untreated, PID can lead to infertility and increase your risk of ectopic pregnancy. Chlamydia, gonorrhea and genital tuberculosis have all been linked to PID and infertility.
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Congenital abnormalities and scarring following abdominal surgery can also lead to fertility issues related to your fallopian tubes.

What are the common tests to check the health of your fallopian tubes?

The most common tests check for blockages in your fallopian tubes that may be making it hard for you to become pregnant.

  • Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): An x-ray dye test used to diagnose problems related to pregnancy and fertility. A HSG can show whether your fallopian tubes are blocked.
  • Hysteroscopy: A procedure that uses a thin lighted instrument called a hysteroscope to look inside your uterus. It often follows an HSG and can confirm whether your fallopian tubes are blocked.
  • Saline-infusion sonography (sonohysterogram): An ultrasound procedure that produces an image of your uterus while it’s filled with saline. It can show whether your fallopian tubes are blocked.
  • Hysterosalpingo contrast sonography (HyCoSy): An ultrasound that produces an image of your fallopian tubes while they’re filled with a solution that contains air bubbles or foam. The solution’s movement can reveal blockages.
  • Laparoscopy: A surgical procedure that uses a small lighted camera called a laparoscope to show whether your fallopian tubes are blocked. Your provider may recommend a laparoscopy and dye test, which allows them to see how the dye is (or isn’t) moving through your fallopian tubes.

What are the common treatments for your fallopian tubes?

Treating fallopian tube-related conditions may require repairing or removing one or both fallopian tubes.

  • Salipingectomy: Surgery that removes a single fallopian tube or both fallopian tubes (bilateral salpingectomy).
  • Salpingo-oophorectomy: Surgery that removes your fallopian tubes and ovaries.
  • Salpingostomy: Procedure that involves making an incision (cut) into a fallopian tube to remove an ectopic pregnancy, remove a blockage in your fallopian tube or repair damaged tissue.
  • Tubal reconstructive surgery: Procedure used to reverse a tubal ligation or repair damaged fallopian tubes.
  • Tubal ligation: Sterilization procedure that cuts your fallopian tubes or blocks them so that an egg and sperm can no longer meet. Tubal ligation is the same as “getting your tubes tied.”