Understanding Fallopian Tube Factors and How They Affect Fertility
Infertility due to fallopian tube factors accounts for about 32 percent of all cases. The fallopian tubes, approximately 7 to 14 centimeters long, are a pair of small tubes that are comprised of smooth muscle tissue that link the ovaries to the uterus. The fallopian tubes consist of three different parts that all have a specific function. The fimbrial end is the closest to the ovary and is the section of the tube that catches the egg that is being ovulated during that menstrual cycle. The ampulla is the middle section of the tube and where the ampulla meets the isthmus is where sperm and egg meet for fertilization. The final section of the tube is the isthmus and this is where the tube connects to the uterus. The rise in progesterone, produced by the corpus luteum, will clear the secretions and fluid that is present in the tubes and help move the embryo down the tube toward the isthmus and the uterus. The secretory cells produce the secretions that are essential for the egg and embryo survival. There are also cilia inside the tubes that propel the egg down the tube toward the isthmus and uterus.
Women with fallopian tube factors are classified by either structural or functional blockages. The structural blockages involve damage to the tube from infections, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), Salpingitis, Hydrosalpinx, Hematosalpinx, Pyosalpinx, fibroids, pelvic endometriosis or pelvic surgery. The functional blockages can be from either spasms or stiffness of the muscles of the fallopian tube walls or from excess or reduced secretions within the tubes themselves.
How Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Treat Fallopian Tube Factors
Research in China has shown encouraging results using administration of Chinese herbs to treat blocked fallopian tubes and restore fertility. In a study at the Shenzhen Municipal Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, they looked at the external application of Chinese herbs on acupuncture points on the abdomen combined with tubal surgery. The first group received this external application with surgery and the comparison group received just the tubal surgery on its own. The study group consisted of 75 women who were divided into the two groups. In the surgery only group: 46% were cured, 23% improved and 30% failed for a combined effectiveness rate of 70%. In the herb and surgery group: 58% cured, 24% improved and 18% failed for a combined effectiveness rate of 82%. This study demonstrated that the use of Chinese herbs can increase the effectiveness of surgery to correct fallopian tube blockages.
Acupuncture points will focus on breaking down the scar tissue and adhesions near and around the fallopian tubes, increasing blood circulation, relaxing muscle tension and spasm of the fallopian tubes, and either increasing or decreasing the amount of mucus within the fallopian tubes. Acupuncture will also reduce stress and regulate the function of the fallopian tubes as a whole.
Chinese herbs will be targeted to the area of the tube that is blocked, reduce adhesions and scar tissue, relax spasms of the tubes, and either increase or decrease the mucus secretions within the tubes. Your particular formula will be individualized and tailored to your exact condition.
Reproductive organ massage is a highly specialized form of therapeutic massage that manipulates the fascia of the pelvic cavity to unblock any obstructions or reduce any adhesions in the reproductive organs and improve the blood flow to these organs. Massage 2-3 times before ovulation can be very effective in removal of adhesions in or around the tubes.
Nutritional guidance will be given and certain foods will be restricted to either reduce or increase mucus secretions within the tubes or to help breakdown the adhesions and scar tissue. There is also an enzyme, serrapeptase, which can be taken to break down the scar tissue and cystic tissue while promoting blood circulation. Smoking cigarettes will be discouraged since it paralyzes the cilia within the fallopian tubes.
How Western Medicine Treats Blocked Fallopian Tubes
Western medicine treats blockages in all areas of the tubes by either doing surgery to remove the tubes or to reduce the blockages inside the tubes. If a woman wishes to conceive, Western medicine will refer her to an infertility clinic for IVF (in vitro fertilization).
Research and Related Articles on Fallopian Tube Factors
External application of chinese drugs on acupoint Shenque combined with salpingostomy for treatment of sterility caused by obstruction of the fallopian tube–a clinical report of 45 cases.
J Tradit Chin Med. 2005 Sep;25(3):174-6.
PMID: 16334717 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Effects of combined therapy of salpingostomy and Bushen Huoxue drugs on fallopian tube obstructive infertility
[Article in Chinese]
PMID: 16689000 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]