What are the symptoms of fluid in the fallopian tubes?

Having fluid in the fallopian tubes, a condition also known as hydrosalpinx, can cause a number of symptoms in affected women. The most common symptom is chronic pelvic pain, which can cause significant distress and limit a woman's ability to function. Short-term pelvic pain may also be seen. Some patients do not have pain, but instead experience problems with fertility as a result of their abnormal reproductive tracts. Other women with hydrosalpinx have no symptoms and only discover they have the condition incidentally.

Perhaps the most common symptom that women experience as a result of having fluid in the fallopian tubes is chronic pelvic pain. The type of pain experienced can vary widely, but women may feel aching, cramping, or sharp pain. It is usually located in the region below the navel. Often this pain is felt daily for more than a six month period, causing women a great deal of dysfunction and inability to perform their daily activities.

In addition to causing chronic pelvic pain, having fluid in the fallopian tubes can also cause more pain in the short term. For example, women may experience pain in the middle of their menstrual cycles, around the time of ovulation. The movement of the egg from the ovary to the uterus through the abnormal fallopian tubes causes this pain. Women may also experience pain with intercourse as a result of damaged fallopian tubes.

Another symptom of hydrosalpinx can be problems with fertility. This can present itself in various ways. Women may have trouble getting pregnant after having regular, unprotected sex for months or years. The abnormal fallopian tube prevents the mature egg from being transported from the ovary to the uterus, making it difficult for the egg to fertilize and the embryos to implant in the uterine wall. On the other hand, women can get pregnant, but experience an ectopic pregnancy because the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus as a result of the abnormal fallopian tube.

Some women who have a buildup of fluid in the fallopian tubes may have no symptoms. They do not have problems with their menstrual cycles, with the possibility of conceiving and carrying pregnancies, or with chronic pain in the pelvic region. The presence of hydrosalpinx could be seen on an imaging study done for other purposes entirely. For example, a computed tomography (CT) scan might highlight abnormal fluid buildup in this part of the female reproductive tract. If this happens, further workup including additional imaging studies or a biopsy may sometimes be required to ensure that the mass seen on imaging is only a hydrosalpinx and not a benign or malignant tumor.

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