A hydrosalpinx is a distally blocked fallopian tube filled with serous or clear fluid. The blocked tube may become substantially distended giving the tube a characteristic sausage-like or retort-like shape. The condition is often bilateral and the affected tubes may reach several centimeters in diameter. The blocked tubes cause infertility. 

The major cause for distal tubal occlusion is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), usually as a consequence of an ascending infection by chlamydia or gonorrhea. However, not all pelvic infections will cause distal tubal occlusion. Tubal tuberculosis is an uncommon cause of hydrosalpinx formation. While the ciliae of the inner lining (endosalpinx) of the fallopian tube beat towards the uterus, tubal fluid is normally discharged via the fimbriated end into the peritoneal cavity from where it is cleared. If the fimbriated end of the tube becomes agglutinated, the resulting obstruction does not allow the tubal fluid to pass; it accumulates and reverts its flow downstream, into the uterus, or production is curtailed by damage to the endosalpinx.

This tube then is unable to participate in the reproductive process: sperm cannot pass, the egg is not picked up, and fertilization does not take place.
Other causes of distal tubal occlusion include adhesion formation from surgery, endometriosis, and cancer of the tube, ovary or other surrounding organs. 

1.    Ultrasound
2.    Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)
3.    Laproscopy

Hydrosalpinx may be diagnosed using ultrasonography as the fluid filled elongated and distended tubes display their typical echolucent pattern. However, a small hydrosalpinx may be missed by sonography. During an infertility work-up a hysterosalpingogram (HSG), an X-ray procedure that uses a contrast agent to image the fallopian tubes, shows the retort-like shape of the distended tubes and the absence of spillage of the dye into the peritoneum. If, however, there is a tubal occlusion at the utero-tubal junction, a hydrosalpinx may go undetected. When a hydrosalpinx is detected by an HSG it is prudent to administer antibiotics to reduce the risk of reactivation of an inflammatory process.

When laparoscopy is performed, the surgeon may note the distended tubes, identify the occlusion, and may also find associated adhesions affecting the pelvic organs. Laparoscopy not only allows for the diagnosis of hydrosalpinx, but also presents a platform for intervention.

A fallopian tube filled with blood is a hematosalpinx, and with pus a pyosalpinx


Associated disease

A hydrosalpinx is most commonly associated with an ectopic pregnancy, isolated tubal torsions and acute infection.


For most of the past century patients with tubal infertility due to hydrosalpinx underwent tubal corrective surgery to open up the distally occluded end of the tubes (salpingostomy) and remove adhesions (adhesiolysis). Unfortunately, pregnancy rates tended to be low as the infection process often had permanently damaged the tubes, and in many cases hydrosalpinges and adhesions formed again. 


Risk factors

  • pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

The fallopian tubes are conduits through which the egg travels toward the uterus, and it is in these tubes that most fertilization happens. So if hydrosalpinx affects both tubes, infertility can be the result.
The leakage of hydrosalpinx fluid into the endometrial cavity was supposed to be the major cause for impaired fertility. However, the underlying mechanisms of hydrosalpinx fluids on implantation and ongoing pregnancy were not fully understood and remain controversial regarding its toxicity.
Tubal phimosis refers to a situation where the tubal end is partially occluded, in this case fertility is impeded, and the risk of an ectopic pregnancy is increased.

As pelvic inflammatory disease is the major cause of hydrosalpinx formation, steps to reduce sexually transmitted diseases will reduce incidence of hydrosalpinx. Also, as hydrosalpinx is a sequel to a pelvic infection, adequate and early antibiotic treatment of a pelvic infection is called for.


Symptoms can vary. Some patients have lower often recurring abdominal pain or pelvic pain, while others may be asymptomatic. As tubal function is impeded, infertility is a common symptom. Patients who are not trying to get pregnant and have no pain, may go undetected. 

IUDs ( an intrauterine device is a small contraceptive device ), endometriosis, and abdominal surgery sometimes are associated with the problem. As a reaction to injury, the body rushes inflammatory cells into the area, and inflammation and later healing result in loss of the fimbria and closure of the tube. These infections usually affect both fallopian tubes, and although a hydrosalpinx can be one-sided, the other tube on the opposite side is often abnormal. By the time it is detected, the tubal fluid usually is sterile, and does not contain an active infection.

Self/alternative therapy

Chinese medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine can treat chronic pelvic inflammatory disease and salpingitis that reached the effect of eliminating hydrosalpinx and curing infertility.

Herbal medicine named Fuyan Pill is a new option for women whose infertility is caused by tubal blockage and hydrosalpinx. Fuyan Pill is a good option to help one eliminate inflammation and expel the abnormal odor of the discharge.

For most of the past century patients with tubal infertility due to hydrosalpinx underwent tubal corrective surgery to open up the distally occluded end of the tubes (salpingostomy) and remove adhesions (adhesiolysis). Unfortunately, pregnancy rates tended to be low as the infection process often had permanently damaged the tubes, and in many cases hydrosalpinges and adhesions formed again. Further, ectopic pregnancy is a typical complication. Surgical interventions can be done by laparotomy or laparoscopy.

Non-infertile patients who suffer from severe chronic pain due to hydrosalpinx formation that is not relieved by pain management may consider surgical removal of the affected tube(s) (salpingectomy) or even a hysterectomy with removal of the tubes, possibly ovaries.

o  Surgical therapy

Surgical cure can be performed through two operative procedures.

These are :


 It involves a surgical incision in the fallopian tube. This process is performed to eliminate an tubal pregnancy or to repair a damaged fallopian tube.


Salpingectomy involves removing part of your fallopian tube. Salpingectomy has traditionally been done via a laparotomy; more recently however, laparoscopic salpingectomies have become more common as part of minimally invasive surgery. The tube is severed at the point where it enters the uterus and along its mesenteric edge with hemostatic control. It is considered a better treatment than other laparoscopic procedures for hydrosalpinx, and it is frequently done before an attempt at in vitro fertilization.

http://www.wikihow.com/Treat-Blocked-Fallopian-Tubes https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salpingectomy


In vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF-ET) is the best option for patients with hydrosalpinx. However, if hydrosalpinges is not pre-treated, the therapeutic outcomes of IVF-ET would be compromised. With the advent of IVF which bypasses the need for tubal function a more successful treatment approach has become available for women who want to conceive. IVF has now become the major treatment for women with hydrosalpinx to achieve a pregnancy.Several studies have shown that IVF patients with untreated hydrosalpinx have lower conception rates than controls and it has been speculated that the tubal fluid that enters the endometrial cavity alters the local environment or affects the embryo in a detrimental way.

Therefore, many specialists advocate that prior to an IVF attempt, the hydrosalpinx should be removed.



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