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Hydrosalpinx and Infertility

What is a hydrosalpinx and infertility?

Though it sounds like an exotic Egyptian relic, a hydrosalpinx is a swollen and blocked fallopian tube. Because scar tissue closes the end of the fallopian tube, fluid collects, causing further swelling and dilation. Let’s explore how hydrosalpinx and infertility relate

Hydrosalpinges usually occur as a result of previous pelvic infection. Sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, are the most common culprits. However, abdominal infections, such as a ruptured appendix, can also cause this problem.

So, why is this a problem?

First of all, if the fallopian tube has a blockage, so there is no way for egg and sperm to meet. Even if there is a partial fallopian tube blockage, the cilia (tiny finger-like projections inside the fallopian tube) often don’t work normally.  In women with hydrosalpinges, the cilia do not move properly and either cannot get the egg and sperm together – or are not able to direct the fertilized egg toward the uterus.  As well, the fluid collection can contain bacteria and other elements that are toxic to the fertilized egg.  Ectopic pregnancies are much more common in women with abnormally functioning fallopian tubes.

Treating hydrosalpinx and infertility

In most cases, a fertility specialist will recommend removing the abnormal fallopian tube(s) via a procedure called a laparoscopy. In isolated cases, repair of a damaged fallopian tube may work.  After surgery, pregnancy may be achieved if ovulation occurs on the side of a normal, remaining fallopian tube – or with IVF if both fallopian tubes are damaged. For more info on tubal abnormalities, please visit

And for further information regarding surgical management of infertility, contact us.

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