Blocked fallopian tubes: symptoms, causes and how they affect fertility

Written by: Mr Osama Naji
Edited by: Carlota Pano

Fallopian tubes form an important part of the female reproductive system. When tubal blockage develops, infertility may occur. Mr Osama Naji, esteemed consultant gynaecologist, provides an expert insight into blocked fallopian tubes.



What are the fallopian tubes?


The fallopian tubes are very delicate structures that connect the cavity of the uterus to the ovaries. They are essential for natural conception.


Blocked fallopian tubes is one of the most common causes of infertility. Generally, it shows no symptoms and thus, gets discovered during fertility investigations after patients endure a longer time trying to conceive. Another aspect to consider is that the mechanical patency of the fallopian tubes still may not mean that the tubes are functional, as the ciliary mechanism of patent tubes can also be affected.


What are the causes of blocked fallopian tubes?


Previous surgery, pelvic infection or endometriosis can potentially damage the fallopian tubes and prevent natural conception. Damaged fallopian tubes also increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy.


Pelvic inflammatory disease is the most common cause of blocked fallopian tubes. This is a bacterial infection generally caused by untreated sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia, which can spread into the fallopian tubes and cause scarring, eventually resulting in a blockage.


Other possible causes include:

Endometriosis: this is a condition where small amounts of the womb lining start to grow inside the pelvis, such as the fallopian tubes, causing them to become blocked.

Fibroids: these are common benign growths within the uterus which can compress the fallopian tubes and cause blockage.

Previous surgeries: especially if carried out to treat ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies can unfortunately damage fallopian tubes, making it more difficult to become pregnant in the future.


What are the symptoms of blocked fallopian tubes?


Blocked fallopian tubes often show no symptoms and many women may not realise that they have this condition until they experience a prolonged period of trying to conceive without success. The first symptom therefore is infertility.


However, sometimes tubal blockage can cause pain in the abdomen. This is usually a regular occurrence around the time of the menstrual period and it results from the building up of fluid in one or both tubes, leading to a condition called hydrosalpinx.


Other symptoms may include pain during sex and unpleasant vaginal discharge.


Sometimes, the fallopian tubes can become partially blocked, meaning it may still be possible to become pregnant. However, this can increase the chances of an ectopic pregnancy, where the fertilised egg may get stuck in the partially-blocked tube.


How can we check if the fallopian tubes are blocked?


We perform tubal patency testing (HyCoSy) to check whether the fallopian tubes are open. This is a simple 45-minute ultrasound-enhanced procedure that does not require anaesthesia and with which we can tell you the results as soon as the test is completed. A detailed information about HyCosy is available on our website.


Do women need IVF when tubal blockage is diagnosed?


Understandably, women who have blocked fallopian tubes may be worried that they won’t be able to conceive naturally. However, there are a few ways in which natural pregnancy is possible.


If there is just one tubal occlusion, the blockage most likely won’t affect fertility as natural conception can still happen through the other unblocked tube. If both of the fallopian tubes are blocked, then IVF is recommended.


How can we help?


If you are experiencing unintentional delay in conceiving, please do get in touch with our team. We would be very happy to guide you through reliable and thorough investigations and assist with all the necessary information to help you make an informed decision.



If you have symptoms of blocked fallopian tubes and would like to seek expert assessment for them, don’t hesitate to visit Mr Naji’s Top Doctors profile today.

By Mr Osama Naji
Obstetrics & gynaecology

Mr Osama Naji is a respected and revered consultant gynaecologist based in Marylebone, London, who specialises in hysteroscopy for outpatients, colposcopy and HyCoSy, alongside laparoscopy, infertility and pre-cancer diagnoses. Mr Naji, who is also an expert in advanced gynaecological scanning, privately practises at Harley Street Clinic Diagnostic Centre and RB&HH Specialist Care. His NHS base is Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.

Mr Naji uses his advanced skills in ultrasound, hysteroscopy and colposcopy, alongside the other mentioned above, with the goal of reducing the need for major surgery. He prides himself in his friendly and approachable demeanour, providing trusted advice and care that aligns to the latest published clinical evidence, and the standards of the most successful health systems worldwide.

Mr Naji qualified from the University of Baghdad with an MBChB in Medicine and Surgery in 2003. He completed further specialist training at some of the UK's leading centres of excellence including the Assisted Fertility Unit at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital, the Early Pregnancy Centre at Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital and The Women's Rapid Diagnostic Centre at St Mary's Hospital. Furthermore he obtained a CCT from the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Residency Program of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and an MD in Gynaecological Imaging from Imperial College London. 

Mr Naji's clinical research has been published in over 70 peer-reviewed journals, and one of his papers contributed to an update in current UK guidelines on miscarriage diagnosis. He also delivers lectures, conferences and workshops both in the UK and the Middle East. He has active teaching roles to both undergraduate and postgraduate training doctors at King’s College London. 

Mr Naji is a member of various professional organisations including the International Ovarian Tumour Analysis Group (IOTA), the International Society for Ultrasonography in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ISUOG) and the British Menopause Society (BMS), alongside the British Fertility Society (BFS), the British Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (BSCCP) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG). You can check out Mr Naji's personal website here

View Profile

Overall assessment of their patients

  • Related procedures
  • Platelet-rich plasma
    Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
    Cosmetic Consulting
    Breast reconstruction
    Congenital malformations
    Sexual dysfunction
    Erectile dysfunction
    This website uses our own and third-party Cookies to compile information with the aim of improving our services, to show you advertising related to your preferences as well analysing your browsing habits. You can change your settings HERE.