Treatment for Blocked or Damaged Fallopian Tubes
Blocked or damage fallopian tubes are a very common cause of infertility.
Fortunately, there are a number of highly effective treatments for blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, most notably fallopian tube surgery and In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), a highly effective fertility treatment that was originally created especially for women with blocked or damaged fallopian tubes.
The fallopian tubes are incredibly thin and delicate structures with tiny little hair-like projections inside the tubes. They can very easily become blocked or damaged.
Healthy, open and functional fallopian tubes are so critical to conception, that tubes can be purposely blocked as a form of permanent contraception. In fact, the reversal of blocked tubes due to sterilization is one of the most common requests we receive from patients. When a sterilization is done, the objective is obviously to damage the tube, so the sperm cannot reach or fertilize an egg. This is often done by placing a little clip or a little silicone ring on part of the tube, that compresses it and causes that piece of tube to die.
The fallopian tubes can also be blocked if debris of some kind gets inside the tube. Similarly, there could be some slough or some tissue that is blocking the tube. Another possible cause of a blocked fallopian tube is an embryo that got stuck in the tube instead of moving down to the uterus, called an ectopic pregnancy.
The fallopian tubes may also be damaged or swollen, or there could be damage to the actual structure of the tube preventing it from moving around freely or from moving the egg or embryo successfully along the tube.
Unfortunately, there is no medication or natural way to unblock tubes or repair damaged tubes.
If blocked or damaged tubes are confirmed on an HSG test or laparoscopy, the treatment options include surgery and/or IVF.
Flushing The Fallopian Tubes
Some patients ask how they can flush out their fallopian tubes as a possible treatment.
It is true that sometimes when a HSG test is done to check the fallopian tubes, the dye that is injected into the uterus and flows through the fallopian tubes might dislodge tiny bits of debris from inside the tubes. However, this is not an established treatment and if there’s scar tissue damage inside of the tube, it certainly can’t be flushed out.
Surgery As A Treatment Option
Surgery is one of the treatment options for blocked or damaged fallopian tubes.
As an example, the best-case scenario for repairing a sterilization is if all that is required during surgery is cutting out the damaged section of tube and reconnecting the two sides. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, because – for example – a significant piece of the tube was removed (this is common when sterilizations are done at the same time as a Caesarean) and there is just not enough tube left to join up together. At other times, the damage may simply be too severe, and cannot be fixed.
IVF As A Treatment Option
The alternative to surgery is doing IVF.
Basically, the IVF process bypasses the fallopian tubes to achieve a pregnancy. Very simply stated, during IV, the female partner’s eggs are collected and fertilized with sperm in a laboratory. The embryo is then implanted into the uterus.
Practiced for more than three decades across the world, IVF is a safe and trusted medical treatment, and its success rate is impressive. Since the first IVF baby was born in 1978, an estimated eight million babies have been born thanks to IVF treatment, helping millions of couples throughout the world overcome the challenge of infertility.
At Cape Fertility, we achieve some of the best IVF success rates in the world. Yet, we are always striving for higher success rates to ensure even more of our patients can experience the joy of have their own baby.
How Do You Choose The Right Treatment?
Many factors need to be considered when selecting the right treatment option for blocked fallopian tubes.
When it comes to surgery, as with all medical procedures, there are some risks to consider. These include the anaesthetic as well as the risks of damage to other organs, such as the bowel, the pipe between the kidney and the bladder, blood vessels and the risks of infection.
In addition, it must be considered that just because a fallopian tube has been unblocked, it does not mean it will stay open or that a pregnancy is guaranteed. The surgery may also not be successful. There is also a risk surgery will cause scar tissue and result in an ectopic pregnancy (an embryo that implants in the fallopian tube instead of in the uterus). This can be an emergency, and if the tube ruptures, it might have to be removed.
Beyond the risks of surgery, there might be other reasons why your fertility specialist recommends one treatment rather than another.
To do this, your fertility specialist will carefully consider how much damage has been done to the tube. Sometimes, the damage may simply be too severe, and cannot be fixed.
Your age must also be taken into account. Older women face a race against time as a woman’s egg quality declines rapid after the age of 35. If you are just 25 and you have many years of good quality eggs ahead of you because you are younger, surgery might be more beneficial because you can get more pregnancies going forward. However, if you’re 40, you do not have as much time.
The right treatment will also depend on how many children you want to have. If you just want to have one more child, IVF treatment may be the better option because, at Cape Fertility, we have excellent success rates with even a single IVF cycle. But if you want to more children, surgery may be the better option for you.
There might also be a reason unrelated to your fallopian tubes for you to undergo IVF treatment, such as if your partner has a problem with sperm.
Of course, the costs are also a factor to consider. Not all medical aids will pay for the surgery. The costs of the surgery, which must be paid upfront to the hospital, include the surgeon, the anaesthetist and the hospital, and essentially it can end up costing the same as an IVF cycle. Of course, not all medical aids will pay for IVF treatment either.
However, for a more efficient treatment, that is equally cost-effective as surgery is, IVF is a good option.
Which is the right treatment for you?
The only one way to establish for certain which blocked fallopian tube treatment is best for you is to consult a fertility specialist and to have the necessary tests and investigations done. The right treatment always depends on your unique and individual fertility challenges.
The first step in receiving the right treatment for blocked, damaged or swollen fallopian tubes is simply to contact us by clicking here…
At Cape Fertility, we value each individual patient and provide affordable quality fertility treatment as well as higher success rates at our purpose-built premises in the beautiful city of Cape Town.
We look forward to providing you with our signature individualised and personalised care!