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Diagnosing and Treating Tubal Factor Infertility
Although some women experience pelvic pain or fever, most women don’t know they have blocked or scarred fallopian tubes until they have problems getting pregnant.
Diagnosis of Scarring or Blockages
Several tests are available to diagnose blocked or scarred fallopian tubes:
- Hysterosalpingogram (HSG). A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is an X-ray that shows the inside of your fallopian tubes. The radiologist injects dye into the tubes and monitors its flow. If you don’t have a blockage, the dye goes through the tubes and into your belly. If you do have a blockage, the dye doesn’t leave the fallopian tubes. This test not only shows the location of the blockage. Even if there’s no blockage and the dye flows freely, an HSG shows any scarring or defects inside the tubes which can cause fertility problems.
- Sonohysterosalpingogram. A sonohysterosalpingogram uses sterile saline and air, which is passed through the cervix into the uterus and visualized by transvaginal ultrasound. The test allows the fertility doctor to assess the uterine lining, shape and texture, as well as the fallopian tubes. The test may cause some cramping as it is being performed.
- Hysterosonogram. A hysterosonogram is similar to a hysterosalpingogram but uses ultrasound to get a more detailed picture. A sterile saline solution (salt water) is injected into your uterus to expand it and increase visibility. This test gives a more detailed picture than HSG and may detect problems the other test might miss.
- Laparoscopy. A laparoscopy uses a small telescope-like tube called a laparoscope to examine the fallopian tubes. Unlike HSG and a hysterosonogram which reach the uterus through the vagina, a laparoscopy involves a small incision near your navel and requires general anesthesia.
Treatment of Scarring or Blockages
If you have blocked or scarred fallopian tubes, the surgeon may use the laparoscope to treat them. The doctor can cut away scar tissue from the tube or make a new opening at the end of the tube. To maximize your chances of a successful outcome, be sure to get a referral to a specialist in tubal surgery.