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Hi. Welcome to my "taboo" blog. My name is Steph, and when I first started this, I was still in my thirties. In 2017, I switch decades! I am a Christian, so underlying everything I do and say is the Word of God, and the foundational truths I have learnt over the years. This doesn't mean I'm perfect - I am human. It just means I recognise I need God's help to live this life and try to live out His way, as best I can. So that's me in a nutshell. Thanks for taking the time to read through my blog, I hope you draw strength, hope or encouragement from what you read.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What Causes a Blocked Fallopian Tube

After receiving the news a few weeks ago that one of my tubes is blocked, and having not yet received a follow-up consultation where I can find out more about the condition (a follow-up ultra-sound appointment though), I decided to find out more myself.

I'm so not medically minded, and sometimes looking for this kind of information can leave more questions than answers, but nevertheless, I need to know what is happening, and whether it can be "fixed".

One of the first things I discover is that a blocked tube is one of the biggest and most major causes of fertility problems in women. Lucky me! And it seems that there are a variety of types and causes! Again, lucky me! I obviously don't know what "type" of blockage I have, nor of the cause of it. The most likely, coupled with the other symptoms I have experienced (including excruciating pain at inappropriate times), is endometriosis, which is an inflammation of the inner lining of the uterus, where it forms outside of the uterus, eg on the tubes. Endometriosis accounts for around 30% of the infertility problems women suffer. But not every woman who has endometriosis will struggle to conceive (the figures I have found fluctuate between 30% and 50%).

If this is the cause of the blocked tube, then it is a relief to know only one is blocked. But will the second tube become blocked also??? The only way to "fix" the problem seems to be through surgery, or through IVF treatments (which isn't really an option for me, for reasons I will go into another time). Should I just rely on the other tube functioning properly or should I be considering surgery?? Does it really make a difference? Again there are conflicting views where some say the surgery makes a woman more fertile for a while after it, while others say it may not necessarily fix the problem. Mild cases of endometriosis can be treated for a year or so of fertility drug treatment.

Symptoms of endometriosis include: extremely painful period cramps, heavy periods, pain during intercourse,  pelvic pain outside of the monthly cycle, constipation and/or diarrhea, blood in urine, pain when going to the toilet and a family history of it (please excuse me if I don't go into any detail about my own symptoms!!).

The future certainly looks bright, doesn't it! At least, at the moment, I have one tube which is unblocked. Until I have been through the ultra-sound scan, I won't know what the blockage is, how badly it is blocked, or whether it can be fixed. I am just waiting in limbo, with the knowledge that for whatever reason, my body isn't working properly at the moment.

As I researched blocked Fallopian Tubes, I found there are other causes which may help to explain other women's difficulties (I say other women, because many of the symptoms I have been experiencing line up more with the above than what I am about to outline below).

The most common is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). This is a bacterial infection of the reproduction system, sometimes, though not always, caused by STD's. Other causes of PID include childbirth, miscarriage, abortion, IUD (an internal contraception) insertion, or even the HSG x-ray, such as the one I described on 25th October. The symptoms of a PID include: irregular periods, unusual discharge from the vagina, problems when going to the toilet, flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, lack of appetite etc...

The most common STDs which can cause blocked tubes, if left untreated are Chlamydia and Gonorrhea - information about these conditions is widely available on the net, but when not "caught and treated" in time, these "silent diseases" can cause infertility. I say silent because, as a recent NHS campaign to highlight these two STD's have been trying to encourage girls and young women to get checked out on a regular basis,symptoms are often non-existent. Saying that, some women have experienced some of the following symptoms of Chlamydia include: a yellowish discharge, painful or frequently going to the toilet, a burning or itchiness around the vagina area and abnormal bleeding. Some of the symptoms of Gonorrhea include: discharge burning sensation when going to the toilet, pelvic pain and bleeding in between periods.

Other causes of a blocked tube include a history of a uterine infection as a result of abortion or miscarriage, a history of a ruptures appendix, previous abdominal surgery, an ectopic pregnancy in the past, or other surgery involving the Fallopian tubes.

Now depending on the cause, will depend on the treatment, including fertility drugs, surgery or the flushing of liquid through the tubes. But the most important thing is, if you suffer anything which is abnormal, painful or unusual, it is so important you get it checked out, as with many of these things, the earlier they are caught, the easier it is to treat them and the less long-term damage they causes.