UNDERSTANDING DIAGNOSTIC PROCEDURES IN A FERTILITY CLINIC: HYSTEROSALPINGOGRAM (HSG) part 2

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Last week we started the discussion on HSG, this week we will be concluding on management post results of tests.

HSG RESULTS: Blocked or Open Fallopian Tubes?

The fallopian tubes are two thin tubes that are on each side of the uterus, they help lead matured egg(s) from the ovaries to the womb/uterus. When a restriction prevents the egg(s) from journeying down the fallopian tube, a woman is said to have blocked fallopian tube, which is also termed tubal factor infertility.

Women with blocked fallopian tubes hardly experience any symptom(s). The major symptom of blocked fallopian tubes is often infertility. Blocked fallopian tube with watery fluid iscalled HYDROSALPINX, this may cause mild lower abdominal pain and unusual vaginal discharge, but not every woman experiences this.

Hydrosalpinx is when an obstruction causes the fallopian tube to increase in diameter, and gets filled with fluid. This fluid blocks the egg and sperm, preventing fertilization to occur and thus no pregnancy.

• Causes of Blocked Fallopian Tubes

The most known cause of blocked fallopian tubes is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is the as a result of sexually transmitted diseases, although not all pelvic infections are related to sexually transmitted diseases.

Some other potential causes of blocked fallopian tubes includes: current sexually transmitted infection, history of an STD infection (especially Chlamydia or Gonorrhea), past or recentinfection in the uterus which has been caused by an abortion or miscarriage, history of a ruptured appendix, history of abdominal surgery, past ectopic pregnancy, surgery involving the fallopian tubes, and endometriosis.

If diagnosed with tubal patency (open tubes) what next?

Record mensural circle frequently, Monitor ovulation

, Strive for healthy body weight

Take pre-natal vitamins, Eat healthy food (vegetables and fruits)

Cut back on refined sugar in take, Reduce strenuous work out

Take a break, relax and be expectant

Have sex every other day during fertile window

If diagnosed with tubal blockage what next?

If result from HSG procedure shows that the fallopian tubes are blocked, one might need to undergo any of these treatmentsoptions:

1. Fertility drugs: this option is opened to women who have only one blocked tube and are healthy. These drugs increase the chances of ovulating on the side which the tubeis open. This is not an option for women with both fallopian tubes blocked.

2. Laparoscopy: For some women, laparoscopic surgery can unblock tubes or remove adhesions (scar tissue) that are causing fertility problems. Unfortunately, this treatment doesn’t work for all women. The chances of success after surgery depend on the woman’s age (the younger, the better), extent of blockage, location , and the cause of blockage.

If just a few adhesions are between the tubes and ovaries, then the chances of getting pregnant after surgery are good.

3. In vitro fertilization (BEST OPTION): IVF treatment mostly involves taking fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries. Then, using a transvaginal ultrasound-guided needle to retrieve the eggs directly from the ovaries. In the laboratory, the eggs are put together with sperm from the husband, male partner or sperm donor as it applies to each patient.

This is done with the hope that some of the eggs get fertilized and some healthy embryos are produced as a result. One or two healthy embryos are selected and transferred to the woman’s womb (uterus). Research has found that a swollen water filled, fallopian tube can notably drop the chances of a successful IVF. If one hasHydrosalpinx, the doctor may recommend surgery to remove the tube(s). After surgical recovery, IVF can be tried for such patient to increase the chances of pregnancy.

In Conclusion it is important to note that HSG procedure is not a fertility treatment; it is a fertility diagnostic procedure carried out on women who are finding it difficult to conceive. The best solution to tubal blockage diagnosis is to undergo an IVF treatment. IVF completely bypasses the fallopian tubes so blockage does not have any effect on ability of a woman to conceive. So women with blocked tubes can easily get pregnant by Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) such as IVF.

Where can I get my IVF treatment done?

Having been diagnosed with bilateral blocked tubes, one may need IVF to get pregnant. It is a well-known documented fact that even the best option of IVF listed is not a 100% success rate at first attempt for all patients. While some may be fortunate to be pregnant with their first cycle others may need to repeat the cycles to be successful, and this may pose an emotional and financial stress. It is highly advisable for you to choose a center that is price friendly with total patient confidentiality, high success rates, trained counsellors , support staffs, complete IVF/ICSI laboratory set up, top notch embryologists, professional fertility/IVF nurses, competent and experienced fertility specialists to achieve results.

It is important for you to be focused when trying to conceive, you must learn to break the cycle of doom and gloom which may seem very difficult with every monthly menstruation that shatters the dream of a baby but know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. With hope and patience, you will make it to the other sure side of successful parenthood sooner than you can imagine.