Hydrosalpinx

Hydrosalpinx is a complicated health condition that threatens pregnancy and fertility in many women across the world. Read on to known what Is Hydrosalpinx as well as its causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

Hydrosalpinx Definition

It is a Fallopian tube that is accumulated by clear fluid due to a distal obstruction. The blockage may lead to considerable dilation (widening) of the tube thereby lending it a sausage-like appearance.

The obstruction of the tubes may result in infertility in women who are healthy otherwise.

Hydrosalpinx Symptoms

Symptoms of Hydrosalpinx can vary in nature. However, certain common discomforts associated with this condition are

Lower body pain

Certain patients suffer from painful symptoms in the lower part of their body, such as the lower abdomen or pelvis. Hydrosalpinx pain may be recurrent in nature. However, other patients may be asymptomatic. This means, they may not suffer from any symptoms at all.

Infertility

This is a common symptom of Hydrosalpinx. It arises with defective tubal function. Patients, who are not in a state of pregnancy and without painful symptoms, may go undetected.

Inflammation

In some cases, this condition is associated with abdominal surgery, endometriosis and IUDs. The immune system blocks the site of injury with inflammatory cells. This results in inflammation that heals gradually. However, it leads to a loss of the fimbria and blockage of the tube.

Hydrosalpinx Causes

As aforesaid, this disorder arises due to accumulation of fluid at the far end of the fallopian tube that is positioned close to the ovary. In most cases, this leads to a total obstruction of the fallopian tube. Once this occurs, fertility can be seriously threatened.

Some of the main causes of Hydrosalpinx are :

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Abortion
  • Earlier cases of infection
  • Childbirth
  • Scarred tissues from a previous surgery

In a few individuals, this problem arises due to sexually transmitted infections, such as Gonorrhea or Chlamydia. These infections generally impact both fallopian tubes. Though a Hydrosalpinx can be unilateral (one-sided), abnormalities may also be noted in the other tube situated on the opposite side is often abnormal. Generally, the tubal fluid is found to be sterile by the time it is diagnosed. It is not found to comprise of an active infection.

Hydrosalpinx Diagnosis

This disorder can be diagnosed by tests like :

  • Ultrasound
  • Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) examination
  • Laparoscopy
  • Laparotomy

For doctors treating Hydrosalpinx, Ultrasound and HSG are generally the more preferred diagnostic methods. This is because these are minimal invasive methods unlike surgical processes like Laparoscopy and Laparotomy that have a certain amount of risk factor involved.

What Happens If Hydrosalpinx Is Untreated?

It is essential to diagnose Hydrosalpinx in the very early stages as it is often found to lead to infertility in future. If the condition is not diagnosed for a long time, it may lead to gradual damage of the fallopian tube. It can result in complete impairment of the fallopian tube. This can seriously affect the free motion of egg or sperm from ovary through the fallopian tube. The fluid that is discharged from the fallopian tube is found to be too toxic for the embryo. When this happens, any treatment for infertility turns out to be ineffectual. It also increases the chances of miscarriage.

Hydrosalpinx Treatment

The treatment for Hydrosalpinx can be done in two ways :

Surgical treatment

Surgical cure can be performed through two operative procedures. These are :

  1. Salpingostomy – It involves a surgical incision in the fallopian tube. This process is performed to remove an ectopic pregnancy or to repair a damaged fallopian tube.
  2. Salpingectomy – It is a prophylactic surgery that includes complete removal of tube. However, this is not a complete curative process. It involves chances of shutdown of the incision and may lead to a recurrence of Hydrosalpinx. The process is more effectual in the nascent stages of Hydrosalpinx and when the obstruction is small. This operative method has shown significant results during pregnancy and in controlling birth rates. A complete surgical removal of the fallopian tube involves some risks and should best be performed when the patient is trying to become pregnant through in-vitro fertilization. It is important for the patient to undergo proper counseling before he or she gives consent for this Hydrosalpinx surgery.

Non-surgical treatment

It involves Pelvic Physical Therapy that helps in normal removal of the obstructions. This process involves the massaging of fallopian tubes to open the blockage. The success rate of non-surgical treatment increases to over 70% when massages are combined with fertility yoga, natural supplements and herbal tampons.

Bilateral Hydrosalpinx

It is a condition that severely affects both sides of a fallopian tube and results in their inflammation. Most cases of Hydrosalpinx are bilateral and lead to extension of the diameter of the affected tubes by several inches. Patients of this condition are mostly found to make a normal delivery after a Salpingectomy is performed.

Hydrosalpinx and IVF

The presence of Hydrosalpinx is found to reduce the success rate of IVF treatment by around 50%. A recent study conducted at Yale University involved comparison of thousands of IVF cycles. It revealed that in women with hydrosalpinx miscarriages doubled and implantation decreased by 50%.

The advent of IVF (In vitro fertilisation) has made it possible to bypass the need for tubal function. It is a more successful approach for curing women who suffer from blocked fallopian tubes and want to conceive.

Removal of Hydrosalpinx is often recommended in IVF patients. Several patients with untreated Hydrosalpinx and opting for IVF have lower rates of conception. The tubal fluid that enters the endometrial cavity has been supposed to affect the embryo or change the local environment in a negative manner. Due to this, many medical specialists advocate Hydrosalpinx removal before attempting an IVF.

Hydrosalpinx and Ovarian Cysts

Paraovarian cysts are generally quite small, and range anywhere from 2 cm to 20 cm in size. These cysts are essentially asymptomatic and are diagnosed during other surgeries and pelvic examinations. They are detected most frequently as Hydrosalpinx (fluid-filled dilations of the fallopian tube) or as benign (non-dangerous) ovarian cysts.

Right Hydrosalpinx

It is a condition marked by obstruction in the right fallopian tube. Many patients report of a minor obstruction in their right tube. However, the blockage may get enlarged and extend further in the tube in future. Patients of this problem usually experience a right-sided abdominal or pelvic pain.

Left Hydrosalpinx

This is characterized by a blockage arising in the left fallopian tube. This gives rise to acute pain in the left side of the pain and pelvis. Unless diagnosed and treated, this pain may continue for years.

Right and left sided Hydrosalpinx are usually treated with the aid of surgical operation that aims at unblocking and draining the fallopian tube.

Hydrosalpinx and Pregnancy

Hydrosalpinx is a serious threat to pregnancy. Despite successful repairing of the fallopian tube obstruction, the rate of pregnancy may be low. Non-surgical treatment, comprising of therapies, have been found to result in successful pregnancies in some cases. However, chances of normal fertility are reduced with the presence of this condition. Even repair and proper treatment cannot guarantee absolute restoration of fertility in the patient. However, the earlier the treatment begins the greater is the chance of improvement of fertility.

However, IVF has found to yield a more effective result in treating women who are suffering from Hydrosalpinx and want to get pregnant.

Hydrosalpinx and Cancer

Usually, this condition is not associated to any cancerous conditions. Ovarian cancer is generally unrelated to tubal dilation. It is only infrequently that a tubal cancer is found to be a cause of blockage of the fallopian tube.

If you are suffering from pain arising in one or both sides of the abdomen or pelvis, get in touch with a doctor immediately. Early diagnosis can help detect the presence of any condition like Hydrosalpinx and help cure it at a nascent stage. This can greatly help you make an earlier recovery and keep your fertility intact.

3 Comments

  1. DANIELLA April 22, 2013
  2. khaula uzair October 6, 2013
  3. Asonia May 3, 2017

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