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Blocked Fallopian Tubes: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Medically reviewed by Mary Rani Cadiz, MD · Obstetrics and Gynecology

Written by Nikita Bhalla · Updated Jun 24, 2022

    Blocked Fallopian Tubes: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

    The fallopian tubes are part of the female reproductive organs; they are channels that connect the ovaries and the uterus. Every month during ovulation, the fallopian tubes carry an egg from an ovary to the uterus. The tubes are also called salpinges. If the tubes are blocked due to some reason, it can be a cause of infertility. In certain cases, blocked fallopian tubes manifest themselves through certain symptoms.

    While, at other times, it may be asymptomatic, which implies that the disorder does not show any external symptoms. Such incidence gets diagnosed only when women experience fertility concerns and are unable to conceive. This is considered to be a condition rather than a disorder.


    Blocked fallopian tubes symptoms may become apparent through certain signs shown by the patients. However, not all cases have external manifestations as discussed earlier in the article.

    In such asymptomatic cases, wherein there are no symptoms, the condition can be identified only during medical investigations when the patient experiences fertility concerns.

    The possible blocked fallopian tubes symptoms are:

    • Pain in the abdomen
    • Unusual discharge from the vagina
    • Ectopic pregnancy or pregnancy in the fallopian tubes
    • Inability to conceive
    • Mild, niggling pain on one side of the abdomen
    • Pelvic pain
    • Heavy and painful periods


    The following are the possible causes of the condition:

    Tubal occlusion

    The condition occurs after occlusion or blockage of the fallopian tube which might develop as a result of adhesion caused by infection of the reproductive tract such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), endometriosis, or trauma from previous operations.


    The primary cause of hydrosalpinx is the fallopian tube getting filled with fluids. This happens as a result of a blockage due to certain medical conditions, some of which are mentioned above.

    Because of the fluid accumulation as well as obstruction, fertilization may not take place as the egg released by the ovary may not be captured and transported by the diseased fallopian tube. The sperm cell may likewise be blocked along the way due to scarring or fibrosis which caused the fluid-filled dilatation of the fallopian tube in the first place.

    blocked fallopian tubes

    Pelvic Inflammation Disease (PID)

    Untreated sexually transmitted diseases can lead to complications such as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. It presents with abdominal pain, abnormal vaginal discharge, fever, and painful sexual contact. If not addressed, this may lead to formation of scar tissue or fibrosis both outside and inside the fallopian tubes that can lead to tubal blockage. Blocked fallopian tubes may contain pus, known as pyosalpinx.

    Salpingitis Isthmica Nodosa (SIN)

    This thickening of the proximal fallopian tube with outpouching of the epithelium into the tubal wall is also known as diverticulosis of the fallopian tube.

    At this time, there is no conclusive evidence to establish the reasons behind SIN. It may be in-born (congenital), due to inflammatory process, or result of chronic tubal spasm. This condition may lead to pregnancy in the fallopian tube, known as ectopic pregnancy, or a higher risk of infertility.

    Personal history of ectopic pregnancy can increase the risk of developing tubal blockages.

    Tubal ligation

    Sterilization of the tubes may also lead to the medical condition of blocked fallopian tubes as sutures are placed during clamping and ligating segments.

    Past abdominal surgery

    A past surgery in the abdomen, especially of the fallopian tubes, may cause tubal blockages due to adhesions.

    Risk Factors

    Prevalence of one or more of the below factors in personal medical history is considered to raise the risk of developing this medical condition:

    • Infections of the lower pelvis like Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
    • Abdominal and/or Pelvic Surgery
    • Endometriosis
    • Atrophy
    • Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) like gonorrhea and chlamydia


    The diagnosis of blocked fallopian tubes usually follows a combination of physical investigation and medical tests.

    Here is the process that is generally followed:

    Physical investigation

    Your doctor will want to know about the symptoms that you may be experiencing. In case your condition is asymptomatic, the physician will most likely conduct a thorough physical examination of your abdomen, or in some cases, do a pelvic examination. Some diagnostic tests may be requested afterward. 

    Medical tests

    The lab tests that may be recommended are:

    Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): For this test, a dye is passed through the cervix. This helps in visualizing the fallopian tube and uterine cavity. X-rays of these organs are taken to track the presence of abnormalities. A regular ultrasound will not be able to detect blocked fallopian tubes. Hence, this test may be suggested. Ideally, this test is conducted within the first half of your menstrual cycle.

    Laparoscopy: This is a procedure that enables medical specialists to get a close look at the prevalence of abnormalities in the female reproductive system. It helps detect the presence of abnormalities like PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease) and endometriosis, which affect fertility.

    Laparoscopic imaging is considered to be more effective in diagnosing blockages in the tubes as compared to HSG. As an additional advantage, laparoscopic surgery can be used as a treatment to address the fallopian tube blockage.


    The treatment for the medical condition depends on the underlying cause of the condition. Below are the available methods of treatment:

    • For blocked fallopian tubes induced by endometriosis or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), treating these conditions may help address blocked fallopian tubes. For instance, surgical removal of growths (e.g. laparoscopic procedures) in those with endometriosis may improve their chances of conception.
    • For those wanting to become pregnant, bypassing the blockage by IVF (in vitro fertilization) or attempting tubal ligation reversal in those who had previous bilateral tubal ligation can be done.
    • For tubal ligation reversal, women with burned tubes or tubes measuring less than 6 cm or with ends of the tubes removed have a lower chance of benefiting from surgical repair.
    • As for other factors, tubal disease or occlusion in the proximal fallopian tube usually cannot be treated.

    Learn more about women’s health issues here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mary Rani Cadiz, MD

    Obstetrics and Gynecology

    Written by Nikita Bhalla · Updated Jun 24, 2022

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