A hydrosalpinx is a fallopian tube that becomes filled with fluid. It can cause infertility and an ectopic pregnancy. If you are diagnosed with a hydrosalpinx and are trying to get pregnant, you may want to seek help of a fertility specialist.
A hydrosalpinx occurs when the fallopian tube has been damaged or if there is a blockage at the end of the tube. The blockage can cause fluid to build up, and the fallopian tube to swell. The condition may occur in one or both fallopian tubes.
A hydrosalpinx can result from scarring caused by a previous tubal surgery or an infection, such as a sexually transmitted infection. Another common cause of a hydrosalpinx is the presence of adhesions, which are areas of scar tissue on your pelvic organs that can get stuck together. Adhesions are often a symptom of endometriosis and other gynecological diseases.
Hydrosalpinx and Infertility?
It may be very difficult to get pregnant naturally with a hydrosalpinx. The blockage prevents the fallopian tube from acting as a conduit for the egg. The egg and sperm may not be able to meet, or the fertilized egg may not be able to reach the uterus. If a fertilized egg begins to divide in the fallopian tube, it is called an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is not a viable pregnancy, and it is a potentially life-threatening condition.
Furthermore, the fluid building up in the fallopian tube may overflow into the uterus, making it more difficult for a fertilized egg to achieve implantation.
In most cases, a hydrosalpinx won’t cause any outward symptoms. Some women are unaware of their condition until they seek help for fertility problems. Common symptoms include:
- Aching, constant pain in the lower abdomen
- Increasing pain during and after a period
- Vaginal discharge
If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, or experiencing any unusual symptoms, make an appointment with your gynecologist. If your doctor suspects you may have hydrosalpinx in one or both fallopian tubes, a number of tests may be performed.
This imaging technique involves introducing liquid into your uterus and then using x-ray imaging to detect where the liquid is able to flow. If your fallopian tubes are normal, the image will show the liquid flowing out of each tube, draining into the pelvic cavity. However, if the liquid is not flowing freely through one or both tubes, it may indicate a blockage.
An ultrasound may be able to detect a swollen fallopian tube. Generally, if the swelling is large enough to be detected by ultrasound, the hydrosalpinx is severe.
A laparoscopy is a minimally-invasive surgical technique in which the doctor makes a small incision in the abdomen and inserts a narrow, flexible, instrument called a laparoscope. The end of the laparoscope is equipped with a lighted camera to allow the doctor to view the inside of your pelvic cavity. Your doctor will introduce a dye into your uterus through your cervix, and use the laparoscope to see if the dye flows out of the fallopian tube. If it does not, that may be an indication of a hydrosalpinx.
Pregnancy and Hydrosalpinx
Getting pregnant naturally with blockages in one or both fallopian tubes can be very difficult. If you are trying to get pregnant, you may want to talk to your gynecologist about your options.
Hydrosalpinx prevents a fertilized egg from traveling to the womb to implant. Depending on your condition and your personal medical history, your gynecologist may recommend:
In some cases, the blockage can be surgically removed to open the tubes. However, some tubal surgeries can be risky and may cause further problems. Talk to your gynecologist about the possible risks and complications.
In-vitro fertilization, or IVF, can help you get pregnant by bypassing the fallopian tubes altogether. In this procedure, the patient is given fertility drugs to stimulate egg production. The eggs are then retrieved with a needle during a surgical procedure, and fertilized with sperm in a lab. The promising embryos are then placed into the patient’s uterus for implantation. Your surgeon may or may not recommend removing the hydrosalpinx before starting IVF.
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