Fallopian tubes? What are they?

Fallopian tubes are a pair of small tubes that link the ovaries to the uterus, and are very important for fertility.

You may also have heard fallopian tubes being referred to as uterine tubes, salpinges or oviducts. They're all basically the same thing.

In women, fallopian tubes are approximately 7 to 14 centimeters long, and start at the top corner of the uterus and move outwards to form a structure called the fibria. At the end of these tubes, there is a small cavity that opens up to the uterus.

The fallopian tubes are covered in cells that have hair-like projections called cilia. The cilia help to move mucus and small objects - such as the egg - in one direction, more aspercreme. The cilia cells also secrete a thin mucus to enable hydration and lubrication for these delicate tubes.

The fallopian tubes play an important part in fertility. Sperm travels from the vagina, through the cervix into the uterus, and into the fallopian tubes, where the sperm is able to reach the egg.

When an egg (ovum) matures in the ovary, the ovary ruptures and the egg moves into the fallopian tubes. The egg is allowed to travel to the uterus by the movement of the ciliated cells that line the fallopian tubes.

Occasionally, there may be a blockage in the fallopian tube. This is also refered to as fallopian tube obstruction, and can be caused due to scarring from previous surgeries, medical conditions such as endometriosis, or infections such as pelvic inflammatory disease.

In rare cases, abdominal problems may also block these fine tubes. For example, peritonitis or appendicitis can cause the tubes to block. This is largely because they open up into a cavity that is shared with other organs.

Ovarian tube obstruction can cause serious problems for fertility.

If the blockage is complete, the sperm will never reach the egg, resulting in tubal infertility.

If the sperm is small enough to swim through the blockage, but the fertilized egg is not, this can result in a tubal or ectopic pregnancy.

Both situations are not ideal for healthy fertilization and birth, as a total blockage of the tube will prevent fertilization from ever taking place, and a tubal pregnancy can cause significant health risks to the developing fetus, the mother and the mother's future fertility.

While there are many surgical techniques available for opening blocked fallopian tubes, natural remedies prove to be the safest, with the least side effects.