The fallopian tubes are an important factor in the achievement of pregnancy. Hence it is important that they are pervasive and functioning.
Disorders of the fallopian tubes
If your wish for a child has been unfulfilled for more than a year it might be possible that your fallopian tubes are obstructed or damaged. This should be considered if you
- have had inflammations of the tubes or the ovaries
- suffer from endometriosis
- have had inflammatory diseases of nearby organs, such as appendicitis, morbus crohn or colitis ulcerosa
- have undergone a ligation of the tubes as means of contraception
Every month during ovulation an egg cell is released from the ovaries. The fallopian tube’s task consists of absorbing the egg cell. Eventually, fertilization takes place if a sperm call penetrates the awaiting egg cell. Even if you had sexual intercourse days before ovulation, there are usually sufficient sperm cells remaining within the fallopian tube to still offer the possibility to achieve pregnancy.
IMPORTANT: There is no need to put yourself under pressure to find “the right day or the right time”. A systematic determination of ovulation is not necessary if you have sexual intercourse approximately every other day. Save yourself from needless stress or exhausting measures such as basal temperature measurements on a daily basis or ovulation determination via urine or saliva tests.
The egg cell remains in the fallopian tube after fertilization. At this time the development of the embryo is initiated and it arrives in the uterus right in time for nidation.
Clarification by testing of fallopian tube patency
The obstruction of fallopian tubes cannot be determined during a normal gynaecological examination via ultrasound. Instead, one of the following three methods has to be chosen:
1) X-ray of fallopian tubes (HSG – Hysterosalpingography)
This examination is conducted as an outpatient procedure in a radiology practice or in the gynaecological department of a hospital. The patient is placed under an x-ray machine while contrast agent is flushed into the uterus with a special instrument. On screen, its progression into the uterus and fallopian tubes can be tracked. Under normal circumstances the fluid moves unhindered through the uterus and fallopian tubes and is consequently expelled into the abdomen. Occlusions can be detected where the fluid will not pass through and the exact location can be assessed. The procedure is conducted as an outpatient treatment and, although slightly unpleasant, it is seldom painful.
2) Ultrasound of fallopian tubes (Hysterosalpingoscintigraphy)
This is not a routine gynaecological sonography as it requires special instruments as well as a special ultrasound contrast agent.
The performance of a laparoscopy is indicated if inflammation of the fallopian tubes, ovaries or uterus was diagnosed, if a tubal pregnancy already occurred or if you suffer from endometriosis. This procedure is performed under general anaesthesia and requires a hospital stay. A small camera is inserted into the abdomen via an incision in the navel. All the organs of the lower pelvis can be seen: the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus. This way growths or possible occlusions of the fallopian tubes can be detected as well as endometriosis diagnosed.