When it comes to reproductive health, knowledge is power. For millions of women around the world struggling with pain or discomfort related to reproductive issues, suffering in silence does not have to be the final word. If you are having trouble conceiving or are experiencing chronic or acute pain or pressure near your uterus, you may be suffering from Fallopian Tube Disease.
Fallopian tube disease is a reproductive health issue for women that affects their physical well-being and their ability to conceive. With this disease, the fallopian tube may become damaged physically or blocked by scar tissue or polyps/fibroids.
When fallopian tubes become damaged or blocked, the result can be a painful or uncomfortable physical experience. Symptoms can range from mild discomfort and pressure to fever, and more rarely, life-threatening complications. Damage to fallopian tubes can also prevent conception, as sperm is prevented from reaching the egg that is in the ovary, or a fertilized egg being blocked from reaching the uterus for implantation.
Fallopian tube diseases are often caused by a variety of infections that attack the fallopian tubes directly. This disease can also occur when surgery causes scar tissue, polyps, or fibroids to form in the tubes and create a blockage. Some known causes for Fallopian Tube Disease include:
Pelvic surgery complications
Damage caused by an intrauterine device (IUD)
An ectopic pregnancy which leads to surgery or damage to the tube or tubes.
Tumors within the fallopian tubes, often benign
Complications from endometriosis
Birth defects resulting in physical abnormality in fallopian tubes
One of the most difficult parts of diagnosing Fallopian Tube Disease is realizing that there is a problem in the first place. Many times, a woman may not know that her fallopian tubes are blocked due to a lack of symptoms that may point to a problem. Often, Fallopian Tube Disease is discovered following tests for issues conceiving.
Physical symptoms associated with Fallopian Tube Disease do exist in some cases, including a sense of pressure of lower abdomen pain resulting from blockage and a low-grade pain in the abdomen. If you have any of these symptoms and may suspect Fallopian Tube Disease, contact your primary care physician or OB/GYN immediately.
Fallopian Tube Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment
If you suspect that you may be suffering from Fallopian Tube Disease, you may wonder what the process is of being diagnosed, and if treatment options are available. The first step is to set up an appointment with our office and we will walk you through your experience, including difficulties conceiving and any pain or discomfort you may have.
If we suspect that Fallopian Tube Disease may be the culprit, you may need a variety of tests to confirm a diagnosis. These may include blood tests to detect past or current infections commonly linked to Fallopian Tube Disease, as well as imaging to look for signs such as scar tissue or blockage in the uterus and fallopian tubes.
If you are diagnosed with Fallopian Tube Disease, we may offer you several available options to treat and alleviate your symptoms and the underlying issues.
One of the most common methods of diagnosis for Fallopian Tube Disease is a Hysterosalpingography (HSG). Performed shortly after a woman’s menstrual period ends, this procedure uses dye - injected through the cervix and into the fallopian tubes - to produce images that can point to any structural issues or problems.
In a Sonohysterography procedure, the fallopian tubes are tested for blockage by injecting a saline solution into the uterus. Using an ultrasound, the solution is watched to see if it flows normally into the fallopian tubes or if there are blocks.
When looking for damage or disease, some doctors will opt for performing a hysteroscopy. With this method, a thin tube called a hysteroscope is inserted through the vagina into the uterus, allowing for a visual look at any blockage or damage issues within the fallopian tube itself. In this method, if a blockage such as a fibroid or a polyp is found, instruments can be inserted through the tube to remove them.
Another diagnosis and treatment method is a laparoscopy. Similar to a hysteroscopy, a laparoscopy uses a tube and camera system that is inserted surgically through the uterus to locate - and if possible, remove - any polyps or blockages that are discovered in the fallopian tubes.
In more extensive cases, surgery may be required to treat Fallopian Tube Disease. While this method can often help remove the issues preventing conception, some women may still need the aid of IVF to conceive successfully. As with any surgery, there are risks involved with surgery to treat Fallopian Tube Disease, so you should have a thorough conversation with your healthcare provider about this option based on your diagnosis, prognosis, and any health risks involved with surgical procedures.