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The fallopian tubes are not mere passages for the egg to travel from the ovaries to the uterus. It is here that conception occurs and hence healthy fallopian tubes are essential for the fertilization of an egg.
Damaged fallopian tubes are the most common cause of infertility. This damage can fall under three categories.
- Blocked fallopian tubes
- One blocked and one open fallopian tube
- Tubal scarring
The third is usually an effect of pelvic infections or natural healing after a pelvic surgery. Sadly, in most cases, this condition is discovered only after infertility has been diagnosed. Other causes of fallopian tubal scarring include:
- STDs such as chlamydia trachomatis and neisseria gonorrhea
- Adhesions caused by ruptured ovarian cysts
- A history of ectopic pregnancies
Fallopian tubal scarring has no recognizable symptoms. Chronic pelvic pain is the only known symptom of this damage and that too can be seen only in severe cases of tubal scarring. On diagnosing infertility, your doctor will perform one of these tests to determine the condition of your fallopian tubes.
- Hysterosalpingogram: This is a type of X-ray. Your doctor will open the vagina with a speculum and inject a liquid into the uterus with the help of a catheter. If the liquid does not pass through the fallopian tubes, it is said to be blocked. This however, does not say much about tubal scarring.
- Laparoscopy: A small incision is made below the belly button and a slim, flexible tube with a camera is passed through the incision. This gives your doctor a clear view of the condition of your fallopian tubes. A laparoscopy can also be used to rule out other causes of infertility such as endometriosis or blocked fallopian tubes.
Treatment for infertility caused by tubal scarring is of two types:
- Surgery: This is suggested in cases where tubal scarring is minimal. Depending on the intensity and placement of scar tissue, your doctor may decide to perform one of many types of surgeries. He may choose to remove the scarred section of the fallopian tube, create a new opening (in case of blockages) or rebuild the damaged edges of the fallopian tubes.
- In Vitro Fertilization(IVF): Women with badly scarred fallopian tubes usually have poor chances of conceiving naturally. Hence, IVF is the preferred treatment route. However, your doctor may still advise you to undergo surgery and remove the damaged tubes prior to IVF to prevent the tubes from filling with fluid.
Thyroiditis is the inflammation or swelling of the thyroid gland. It primarily affects women from early adulthood to middle age, although anyone can get it. The thyroid is the butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of your throat, just below your Adam’s apple. It controls your metabolism by producing hormones that influence how fast or slow your heart, brain, and other parts of your body work. Thyroiditis can make thyroid gland produce too many or not enough hormones. Too many hormones can make you feel jittery and possibly make your heart race. Too few hormones can make you feel tired and depressed.
Types of thyroiditis: There are several types of thyroiditis –
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: This is the most common type of thyroiditis. It is caused by the immune system attacking the thyroid gland, making it swelled and damaged. As the thyroid is destroyed over time, it is no longer able to produce enough of the thyroid hormone.
- Subacute thyroiditis: It is possibly caused by a viral infection such as mumps or the flu. It usually causes fever and pain in the neck, jaw, or ear. Post-partum thyroiditis: This is an autoimmune condition caused by antithyroid antibodies that sometimes occurs shortly after a woman gives birth. However, it is more common in women with type 1 diabetes, positive thyroid antibodies, and a previous history of postpartum thyroiditis.
- Silent thyroiditis: Silent thyroiditis is similar to postpartum thyroiditis but it can occur in men and women both. Moreover, it is not related to giving birth. This is also an autoimmune disease caused by antithyroid antibodies.
- Drug-induced thyroiditis: Some medications can damage the thyroid and cause either symptom of the overactive thyroid gland or underactive thyroid gland.
- Radiation-induced thyroiditis: The thyroid gland can sometimes be damaged by radiotherapy treatment given for an overactive thyroid gland.
- Acute or infectious thyroiditis: Acute or infectious thyroiditis is usually triggered by a bacterial infection. It is rare and is associated with either a weakened immune system or, in children, a problem with the development of the thyroid.
Symptoms of thyroiditis: The symptoms of thyroiditis depend on the type and phase of thyroiditis. Thyroiditis can cause slow, long-term thyroid cell damage and destruction that causes thyroid hormone levels in the blood to fall. If this happens, the symptoms are similar to those of hypothyroidism, which includes fatigue, unexpected weight gain, constipation, dry skin, depression, and muscle ache. On the other hand, thyroiditis can also cause rapid thyroid cell damage and destruction that causes thyroid hormone in the gland to leak out and increase the thyroid hormone levels in your blood. If this happens, symptoms that are similar to those of hyperthyroidism may occur. This may include weight loss, nervousness, anxiety or irritability, difficulty in sleeping, rapid heart rate, fatigue, muscle weakness, and tremors.
Treatment of thyroiditis: Hypothyroidism is generally treated with synthetic versions of the thyroid hormone. These are taken as pills. As your metabolism returns to normal, your doctor may adjust the dosage. The treatment of hyperthyroidism depends on the type of inflammation and also on any symptoms that you may be having.
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