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Endometriosis and Fallopian Tube Problems

Fallopian Tube Problems

Problems with the fallopian tubes also account for a significant percentage of infertility cases. Sometimes, the tubes may be blocked or they may be scarred as a result of disease or infection.

When an egg is released from one of the ovaries, it travels through one of the fallopian tubes, which are narrow ducts that connect the ovaries to the uterus. Normally, the egg will join with the sperm in the fallopian tubes during conception and the now-fertilized egg will continue on to the uterus. However, the fallopian tubes are extremely fragile. If they are blocked, there's no way for the egg to become fertilized by the sperm.

The fallopian tubes can be damaged by diseases such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, infections and sexually transmitted diseases.

Getting Pregnant When You Have Fallopian Tube Problems

To determine whether your fallopian tubes are blocked, your doctor may suggest a laparoscopy or a hysterosalpingogram (HSG). In an HSG test, liquid dye is inserted by catheter through the vagina (cervix) into the uterus. Then, X-rays are taken to see if there is a blockage or if the dye flows freely into the abdomen. Another method of HSG uses saline and air rather than dye and ultrasound instead of X-ray. If you have problems with your fallopian tubes, your doctor may recommend surgery to correct the damage or unblock the tubes. 

If you're ovulating normally, your doctor might also consider assisted reproduction techniques that bypass the fallopian tubes entirely. These can include intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), artificial insemination directly into the uterus (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF).

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD, FACOG on May 26, 2014

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