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What is HydrosalpinxI have been experiencing excessive clear watery vaginal discharge, enough that I have to wear pads constantly and bring a change of clothes with me wherever I go. My doctor suspects it may be fluid collecting in my fallopian tubes. What causes fluid in the fallopian tubes?

When fluid collects in a fallopian tube, it is called hydrosalpinx. Fallopian tubes are very delicate, and they can swell shut when injured, irritated, or infected. When both ends of a fallopian tube close, it fills with fluid and expands. The fluid eventually leaks out through the uterus and vagina, causing a clear discharge similar to what you describe.

Common causes of infection or injury to the fallopian tubes include pelvic inflammatory disease, sexually transmitted diseases, endometriosis, IUDs, and injury or adhesions from abdominal surgeries. Cancer is also a possibility and should be ruled out, but it is not a common cause of hydrosalpinx.

Hydrosalpinx usually affects both fallopian tubes and can often be detected with an ultrasound, particularly if it very distended (swollen). A hydrosalpinx can grow to several centimeters in diameter, and such swelling would be easy to see on an ultrasound. However, if the hydrosalpinx is still small and is not detected with an ultrasound, your doctor may go on to run an x-ray scan with contrast, which is called a hysterosalpingram (HSG), to see if fluid is collecting in one or more fallopian tubes and failing to drain into the uterus. If that test is unsuccessful and your doctor still suspects a fluid-filled fallopian tube, he or she may perform a laparoscopy to insert a tiny camera into your abdomen to take a look at the fallopian tubes firsthand.

Once hydrosalpinx is positively diagnosed and other conditions are ruled out, there are three main treatment options: physical therapy (massage to help open the tubes and release the fluid), salpingostomy (putting a small hole in the tube to drain it), or salpingectomy (surgically removing the fallopian tubes).

Hydrosalpinx can cause excessive discharge, abdominal pain, and infertility. The only preventive measure you can take is avoiding contracting STDs and treating pelvic infections promptly with antibiotics. Once the damage is done to the fallopian tube(s), it is often irreversible.

It is a great idea to seek a second opinion in cases like these. Some doctors are quick to recommend a hysterectomy for virtually any gynecological problem. But in this case, if the second physician is correct, you may be able to solve the discharge problem and keep your uterus and ovaries intact.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

08-30-2011 - 11:47 PM


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