Your fallopian tubes play a crucial role in the fertilisation process, acting as a safe pathway to the uterine cavity and the meeting place for the sperm and egg. If you are having difficulty falling pregnant, your fertility specialist may identify the fallopian tubes as a possible cause of infertility.
Tubal Factor Infertility refers to female infertility caused by the fallopian tubes either through damage, disease, scarring or other factors. Fortunately, in some cases, a procedure called tubal flushing can assist in restoring the fallopian tubes, giving you a higher chance of falling pregnant.
What Is Tubal Flushing?
Tubal flushing refers to a process where a specialist passes a liquid through the fallopian tubes. The pressure this creates helps to ensure the tubes remain open, which may relieve many womens fertility problems.
Performed as a laparoscopic procedure, a small tube is inserted through the womb and a saline formula creates gentle pressure. As well as saline, some doctors may use other liquids, including indigo carmine, purified poppy seed oil or a contrast liquid for ultrasound guided procedures.
The specialist can follow the progress with a tiny fibre-optic camera, which may be inserted through the belly button in a keyhole procedure.
Is Tubal Flushing Right for Me?
There are several different types of fallopian tube blockage and damage, and tube flushing will not be suitable in all circumstances. If you have been told that your tubes are irreversibly blocked, specialists like Dr Alex Polyakov may recommend IVF rather than natural conception. Similarly, serious damage, infection, scarring and advanced endometriosis may indicate that artificial reproductive technology is the best option.
However, partial and temporary blockages caused by mucous, debris and other common factors may be relieved with tubal flushing.
Diagnosing Tubal Damage
To diagnose Tubal Factor Infertility, your fertility specialist will usually begin with a hysterosalpingogram (HSG). Using x-ray technology, this radiology procedure uses a contrast dye to document the journey through the cervix, fallopian tubes and uterine cavity.
If the dye passes into the abdominal cavity with no problem, it indicates that the fallopian tubes are open. However, this does not mean that your tubes arent damaged.
Fallopian tubes have a part to play in the collection, transport and fertilisation of the egg, as well as the movement of the egg down the fallopian tubes and into the uterine cavity. Tubal damage may hinder one or more of these processes, leading to infertility, difficulty getting pregnant or even tubal pregnancy. Also known as ectopic pregnancy, this results in complications and risks for the mother as well as a poor prognosis for the child.
Costs and Success Rate
Tubal flushing can be a relatively inexpensive procedure depending on the liquid used in the process, with saline generally being the cheapest. Like many other fertility treatments, you can expect this to be an out-of-pocket expense.
Tubal flushing has shown to have significant benefits to fertility in many cases. In a study conducted by Australian and Dutch researchers, 40 per cent of infertile women successfully fell pregnant following fallopian flushing.
However, in many cases, minor tubal damage or blocking of the fallopian tubes may not be the sole cause of infertility, meaning couples may still experience problems conceiving.
Tubal Flushing Advice and Procedures in East Melbourne
If you are concerned about infertility or you have been diagnosed with Tubal Factor Infertility, Dr Alex Polyakov can help you understand your options. As an IVF and fertility specialist, Dr Alex will guide you through diagnosis and treatment, working closely with you from conception to delivery. Enquire about an appointment in East Melbourne or contact Dr Alex today.