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What is Hydrosalpinx

  • Published on August 12, 2022
What is Hydrosalpinx

Hydrosalpinx is a condition affecting women’s reproductive health in which one or both fallopian tubes become filled with fluid and gets blocked. The blockage happens typically at the end of the fallopian tube and prevents the egg from entering it.

How does hydrosalpinx affect your fertility?

Fallopian tubes are a part of a woman’s reproductive system that connects the uterus and the ovaries. During the menstrual cycle, these tubes carry the egg from the ovaries to the uterus. And during conception, the fertilised egg moves through these tubes from the ovaries to the uterus. 

If one of the fallopian tubes is blocked, sperm will have trouble reaching the eggs and fertilising them. Even if an ovulated egg could manage to join with sperm for fertilisation, the hydrosalpinx would most likely block the embryo from travelling through it and implanting into the uterus. 

In some rare cases, an ectopic pregnancy can occur where the fertilised egg attaches to a part of your body other than the uterus, most likely in the fallopian tube and can result in further complications.

Hydrosalpinx symptoms

Hydrosalpinx doesn’t usually have symptoms. Most women are unaware of the fact that they have hydrosalpinx blocking the fallopian tubes till they start trying to conceive and fail.

In certain cases, hydrosalpinx can lead to some pain on one side of the abdomen due to the filling of fluids and swelling of a blocked fallopian tube.

Others having hydrosalpinx may also experience abnormal vaginal discharge and abdominal and pelvic pain that occurs during or before a menstruation period.

Hydrosalpinx causes

Hydrosalpinx can be caused due to several reasons. Some of the most common hydrosalpinx causes are:

  1. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia can cause hydrosalpinx.
  2. Sometimes some past surgery of the pelvic region or the fallopian tubes themselves can lead to hydrosalpinx.
  3. Other possible reasons for a blockage from the pelvic region are endometriosis and adhesions in the pelvic area.
  4. Pelvic inflammatory disease can also cause hydrosalpinx.
  5. Infection in one or both the fallopian tubes can also cause hydrosalpinx.

Hydrosalpinx risk factors

Several factors can increase the risk of developing hydrosalpinx. These include:

  1. After injury or surgery, the body’s immune system rushes inflammatory cells to the site causing it to swell. If the surgery is done on the fallopian tubes, inflammatory cells can start to accumulate in them, which could lead to blockage.
  2. Past ectopic pregnancy can also scar the tubes, leading to blockage.
  3. Genital tuberculosis can also lead to hydrosalpinx.
  4. The use of an intrauterine device (IUD) or other birth control devices as a contraceptive can also lead to the development of hydrosalpinx.
  5. Endometriosis, the growing of tissue outside the uterus, can be another reason for the development of hydrosalpinx.

Hydrosalpinx diagnosis

The methods used for the diagnosis of hydrosalpinx are as follows:

Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)

A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is an X-ray that checks for blockages of the uterus and fallopian tubes. Doctors often use it because it gives a better overview of possible problems than just an ultrasound. 

A special liquid that can be seen on an x-ray will be inserted through the cervix (neck of the womb), and then an x-ray will be taken (called a hysterosalpingogram or HSG) to see if the liquid has gone in the right place. 

If your fallopian tubes are open, the liquid will flow down the tubes and into your pelvic area. If they’re blocked, it gets trapped, and your doctor will be able to tell you to have a hydrosalpinx.

Laparoscopy

Laparoscopy, also called keyhole surgery, is a technical surgical procedure. It entails making a small entry into your stomach and inserting a special telescope to provide magnified images of the regions. 

Through this surgery, the specialist can detect if something is blocking your fallopian tubes and whether that blockage is due to hydrosalpinx or some other causes.

Ultrasound

Your doctor will be able to check for hydrosalpinx using an ultrasound. If the tube appears enlarged, this usually means there’s a more severe hydrosalpinx present.

Sonohysterosalpingography

A sonohysterosalpingography, also called sonohysterogram, is a type of ultrasound that uses sound waves to find problems with the uterus or other organs in the female reproductive system. These might be problems affecting fertility and can be detected during the exam.

Doctors usually can’t use sonohysterogram directly on the fallopian tubes, but it can help determine whether there is a blockage or not.

Hydrosalpinx Treatment

There are different types of hydrosalpinx treatment, and the choice will depend on how severe the blockage is. Surgery is the common method for treating hydrosalpinx. Here are two common surgical procedures:

Laparoscopic surgery

Scar tissue or adhesions that are causing infertility can usually be surgically removed with this surgical method.

Salpingectomy surgery

This surgical procedure involves removing all or part of the fallopian tube. This procedure is very helpful in restoring fertility.

If the underlying cause is endometriosis, the treatment involves removing the endometrial growth.

Sclerotherapy

Another alternative treatment is sclerotherapy. The process involves focusing ultrasound on a needle to extract the liquid from the affected fallopian tube. After that, a special chemical is inserted, preventing future fluid build-up in the area.

This method is less aggressive than laparoscopic surgery.

Conclusion

A person who has hydrosalpinx may still be able to get pregnant; however, the likelihood of success is dependent on the severity and blockage’s cause. Without any treatment, conception won’t always happen, and early pregnancy loss or ectopic pregnancy are risks that could occur.

An accurate diagnosis of hydrosalpinx will help in the further treatment of this condition. Diagnosis methods involve Hysterosalpingogram (HSG), Laparoscopy, Sonohysterosalpingography etc.

Treatments for hydrosalpinx will increase the chances of getting pregnant significantly. Surgeries, such as laparoscopy and salpingectomy are common methods for treating hydrosalpinx. Sclerotherapy is another alternative treatment solution. To know more regarding this issue, visit Birla Fertility and IVF or book an appointment with Dr___.

FAQs

1. Can you treat hydrosalpinx naturally?

There is no conclusive scientific research proving the use of natural treatments for hydrosalpinx.

2. Can you have a successful pregnancy with hydrosalpinx? 

A natural pregnancy can happen if one tube doesn’t have a hydrosalpinx or any other obstruction since sperm can reach the egg in the unaffected tube. But if both tubes are obstructed, there will be no natural pregnancy. The doctor will then recommend surgery to treat hydrosalpinx. Later you can opt for In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF).

3. Can I just get IVF and not treat hydrosalpinx?

Doctors usually recommend surgery to treat hydrosalpinx before attempting IVF. This can result in a higher success rate for embryo transfer. If the hydrosalpinx is not treated, there can be chances of ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.

4. How does this affect your fertility?

Fallopian tubes are a part of a woman’s reproductive system that connects the ovaries and uterus. During the menstrual cycle, the fallopian tubes carry the egg from the ovaries to the uterus. And during conception, the fertilised egg moves from the ovaries to the uterus through these tubes. If one or both the fallopian tubes are blocked, sperm will have trouble reaching the eggs, causing infertility.

Written by:
Dr Puja Singh

Dr Puja Singh

Dr. Puja Singh has been a senior resident at the Hindu Rao Hospital and NDMC Medical College, New Delhi and has been previously attached with Nova IVF Clinic, Ahmedabad in fertility services. She completed her post-graduation in Obs & Gynae from Hindu Rao Hospital & NDMC Medical College, New Delhi. She completed her FNB training in reproductive medicine.She has done fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery from AMASI. Her main area of interest is reproductive medicine. She has done her MBBS & Internship at Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar Hospital, Raipur. She is dexterous and precise in surgical treatment procedures. 

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