Everyone thinks that conceiving a child should be easy. You may assume that because conception is natural, it should be simple. If you’ve been trying to conceive a child and haven’t had any luck, you may wonder what is going on.
One hidden cause of infertility that you may not even know about is blocked fallopian tubes. As many as 30% of infertility cases are caused by blocked fallopian tubes, but many women don’t even know they have this problem. Here, Darin L. Weyhrich, MD, explains more about this common cause of infertility.
The role of the fallopian tubes
Your ovary releases an egg each month into the fallopian tube as it journeys toward your uterus. If you have sex during this time of ovulation, the sperm travels through the fallopian tube to meet with the egg.
However, if the fallopian tube is blocked, the sperm and the egg never meet. Many women don’t even know that their fallopian tubes are blocked, because it often causes no symptoms at all.
What causes fallopian tube blockage?
Blocked fallopian tubes are often something we only discover if you’re having trouble conceiving a child. We discover it by conducting a test called a hysterosalpingogram, a specialized form of X-ray, in which we inject dye through your fallopian tubes.
If your tube is partially blocked, it can increase your risk of experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, in which the pregnancy doesn’t move beyond the tube.
Common causes of fallopian tube blockages include:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), often originating from a sexually transmitted infection
- Endometriosis, where uterine tissue grows outside the uterus
- Current or history of a sexually transmitted infection, especially gonorrhea or chlamydia
- History of uterine infection caused by miscarriage or abortion
- Previous ectopic pregnancy
- History of a ruptured appendix
- History of abdominal surgery
How we treat blocked fallopian tubes
If you have blocked fallopian tubes, you may still be able to get pregnant. The first thing we may do is perform surgery to remove the blockage. If it’s a minimal blockage, we may be able to perform the procedure laparoscopically. This type of procedure is minimally invasive, which means you won’t need as much recovery time.
If the blockage is more severe, we may need to perform traditional surgery with larger incisions. If you have surgery to remove the blockage, you may still be able to conceive a child.
However, if your blockage is caused by severe endometriosis or severe scarring, Dr. Weyhrich may recommend a different procedure to encourage conception.
In-vitro fertilization is the fertility method of choice if you have blocked tubes that don’t respond to our efforts to unblock them. When you use in-vitro fertilization, we use fertility drugs to induce ovulation. Then, we harvest the eggs by using ultrasound to guide an instrument through your vagina. We then combine the egg with the sperm, and implant the fertilized eggs in your uterus.
If you’re having difficulty conceiving a child, schedule an appointment with Dr. Darin L. Weyhrich. Contact our office for a consultation or request an appointment online.