Fallopian Tube Disorders: Types, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

What are fallopian tubes and their function?

The fallopian tubes (also known as oviducts or uterine tubes) are an important part of the female reproductive system. They are a pair of hollow, muscular ducts situated between the ovaries and uterus.

They help transport eggs from the ovaries (where the body produces eggs) to the uterus (where a fertilised egg can develop into a foetus).

What are fallopian tube disorders?

Fallopian tube disorders occur when there is a blockage or structural irregularity in the fallopian tube. They can result in difficulty in getting pregnant.

As the fallopian tubes are essential in allowing sperm to reach the egg and transferring a fertilised egg to the uterus, a blockage in the fallopian tubes (tubal obstruction) may lead to inability to conceive. Blocked fallopian tubes can be caused by a previous pelvic infection, surgery, or endometriosis.

What are the types of fallopian tube disorders?

There are several types of fallopian tube disorders. They include the following:

  1. Salpingitis and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

    Salpingitis refers to inflammation of the fallopian tubes. It is usually caused by bacterial infection, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as gonorrhoea and chlamydia.

    Salpingitis is a type of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). If left untreated, PID can lead to scarring and blockage of the fallopian tubes, thus causing infertility and increasing the risk of ectopic pregnancy.

  2. Hydrosalpinx

    Hydrosalpinx occurs when fluid accumulates in the fallopian tubes because of an accident or infection. The blockage may make it more difficult for a woman to become pregnant.

  3. Fallopian Tube Fibroids

    Fibroids are most typically found in the uterus, but they can also appear in the fallopian tubes.

  4. Infertility and Tubal Factor

    Tubal factor infertility is the most frequent reason for infertility in females. It is due to occlusion in the fallopian tubes causing adhesions and tubal damage.

  5. Paratubal Cysts

    Paratubal cysts are fluid-filled masses that develop near the ovaries and fallopian tubes. They are noncancerous and typically go away on their own.

  6. Endosalpingiosis

    Endosalpingiosis is a rare gynaecological condition characterised by the presence of fallopian tube tissue outside the fallopian tube. It may affect the ovaries, myometrium (middle layer of the uterus wall), or bladder. Endosalpingiosis has been linked to pelvic pain, infertility, pelvic mass, and urinary symptom.

  7. Isolated Tubal Torsion

    Isolated fallopian tubal torsion refers to twisting or torsion of the fallopian tube alone, without affecting the ovary. It is a rare condition that normally affects teenagers and ovulating women, and rarely found in postmenopausal women.

What are the causes of fallopian tube disorders?

Fallopian tube disorders are caused by conditions that block or damage the tube such as:

  • Pelvic infections like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Ruptured appendix
  • Pelvis or lower abdomen surgery
  • Inflammation that damages the uterus and fallopian tubes
  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Birth defects of the tubes and uterus

What are the symptoms of fallopian tube disorders?

Women with fallopian tube disorder may present with symptoms such as:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Pain during menstruation / urination / sexual intercourse
  • Menstrual irregularity 
  • Infertility
  • Presence of pelvic mass
  • Urinary symptoms

How is fallopian tube disorder diagnosed?

Fallopian tube disorder can be diagnosed via:

  • Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): An x-ray dye test used to diagnose pregnancy and reproductive issues. An HSG can determine if the fallopian tubes are obstructed.
  • Hysteroscopy: A narrow, illuminated device called a hysteroscope is used to have a look inside the uterus. It is frequently performed after an HSG and can establish whether the fallopian tubes are blocked.
  • Saline-infusion sonography: Also known as sonohysterogram, this ultrasound procedure creates an image of the uterus while it is being filled with saline. If the fallopian tubes are blocked, a sonohysterogram can reveal that.
  • Hysterosalpingo contrast sonography (HyCoSy): HyCoSy is another ultrasound procedure that produces an image of the fallopian tubes while they are filled with a fluid that contains foam or air bubbles. Movement of the solution can disclose any obstructions in the fallopian tubes.
  • Laparoscopy: This surgical treatment allows for visual examination of the fallopian tubes through abdominal incisions (cuts). A gynaecologist will examine the fallopian tubes to determine if they are blocked using a tiny, lighted camera known as a laparoscope.

How is fallopian tube disorder treated?

Treatments options for fallopian tube disorders include:

  • Salpingectomy: A surgical procedure to remove a single fallopian tube or both fallopian tubes (also known as bilateral salpingectomy).
  • Salpingo-oophorectomy: A surgical procedure to remove the fallopian tube and ovary.
  • Salpingostomy: A procedure that involves making an incision into a fallopian tube over the site of the pregnancy and removing the ectopic pregnancy. It can also be performed to remove a blockage in the fallopian tube or repair damaged tissues.
  • Tubal ligation: Tubal ligation is a sterilisation procedure or a type of permanent birth control. During the operation, the fallopian tubes are cut, tied, or blocked, permanently preventing the union of an egg and sperm.
  • Tubal reconstructive surgery: A procedure performed to undo a tubal ligation or restore the function of damaged fallopian tubes.

Make an appointment at Pantai Hospitals

A dedicated and expert team of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists at Pantai Hospital is available for consultation to provide the best care and assistance. Get in touch with us to book an appointment today if you have any concerns or questions regarding your reproductive health.

For health screening appointments, please contact the Health Screening Centre at your nearest Pantai Hospital.

Pantai Hospital has been accredited by the Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH) for its commitment to patient safety and service quality.

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