The important work of the two fallopian tubes or uterine tubes connect the ovaries to the uterus which allows the egg to pass during the woman’s ovulation. These narrow ducts roughly 4 inches in length of lined mucous membrane and layers of muscle provide a suitable condition for the egg to become fertilised which slowly contract sweeping the egg to the uterus.
The tube has four main parts, isthmus which is closet to the uterus, ampulla which is the most common place for fertilisation to occur, the funnel shaped infundibulum which is then attached to the final part of the Fimbriae.
The mucous within the lining of the fallopian tubes give off secretions to keep them alive and aid in transportation. This fluid consists of calcium, sodium, chloride, glucose, proteins, bicarbonates and lactic acids. These all have major functions like bicarbs and lactic acids are vital for the sperm’s use of oxygen and help the egg develop once fertislised. Glucose is used as a nourishment for the egg and sperm whereas the rest creates a perfect habitat for fertilisation to happen. Your egg can survive up to 24 hours after ovulation which means the egg must meet with the sperm within this time to develop into a pregnancy. Sperm can survive for up to seven days within the vagina, uterus and fallopian tubes meaning woman have a fertile window of six days. It takes a few days from the release of the egg for its travel through the fallopian tube.
An ectopic pregnancy or “tubal pregnancy” can occur from salpingitis (inflammation of the fallopian tubes caused by a bacteria infection) or scaring/trauma from surgical procedures in the abdominal region. It can leave adhesions which can potentially block partially or fully resulting in infertility or an ectopic pregnancy. The sperm may be able to pass through the tubes to fertilise the egg however the egg may not be able to implant causing common symptoms such as abdominal pain, discomfort and vaginal bleeding within the early pregnancy. The embryo may attach itself outside the uterus.
Surgical cutting of the fallopian tubes is classed as sterilisation. The egg is unable to transport itself into the uterus therefore it cannot progress any further to pregnancy. This surgery can be performed laparoscopic or as an open abdominal procedure.
Written by Justine Gibbs