Fertility Friday: Fallopian Tubes That Cannot Function

With early diagnosis and appropriate treatment few women need to suffer from Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). However, the end consequence of PID may be permanently damaged fallopian tubes. This is an ultrasound single view picture of a medical condition of the fallopian tube called a hydrosalpinx. Essentially it is a tube destroyed by a prior infection. After the infection leaves, it is sealed at one end and it accumulates fluid pockets and is no longer a free passageway for sperm and egg to meet up. Our fallopian tubes are normally open at the far end the ruffled enlarged portion which is called the fimbria or the fimbriated end. The fimbria act like fingers to pick up the egg and lead it into the tube where it would get fertilized. If disease has lead to scaring of the fimbria it becomes sealed at one end. If there is no passage out for the normal tubal fluids that are secreted, or a passage out for any infection that may have occurred there there, or a passage out for the menstrual blood that flows "retrograde" the end result is a long structure that gets more bloated than it would be normally. The medical term is a hydrosalpinx (if it's only fluid) or heamatosalpinx (only blood) or pyosalpinx (if it is filled with pus). Furthermore, women with any version of a blocked tube, whether it be a hydrosalpinx, a pyosalpinx, or a hematosalpinx often have chronic infections, discharge, pain or urinary symptoms. Pelvic examinations, ultrasounds and laparoscopies are the best way to make this diagnosis. If the uterus is infected as well, then culture test and biopsies need to be done for confirmation. Blood tests may be positive for pregnancy with a hematosalpinx due to a tubal pregnancy, and blood tests for infection may be positive if the condition is a pyosalpinx. So if you have these symptoms, you may have fallopian tubes that are full of fluid and cannot function. Pelvic examinations, fluid tests of the tubes and ultrasounds can all help make the diagnosis, so get in to see your Gyno today as you do need to talk!


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