Salpingitis is inflammation of the fallopian tubes. Causes include bacterial infection, overgrowth of the inner lining of the fallopian tube, and congenital abnormality. Doctors sometimes consider salpingitis a type of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

Without treatment, salpingitis may cause infertility. Treatments can include reconstructive surgery and hormone therapy. In vitro fertilization (IVF) may be an option for people with salpingitis who want to become pregnant.

This article discusses the causes, symptoms, and treatment of salpingitis.

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Salpingitis is inflammation of one or both fallopian tubes, an important part of the female reproductive system. These slender tubes connect the ovaries to the uterus. They provide a pathway for eggs to travel from the ovaries to the womb.

Salpingitis can sometimes cause permanent scarring. This can block the pathway for eggs to enter the uterus, potentially leading to infertility.

Learn about female reproductive organ anatomy.

Experts have found three possible causes of salpingitis:

  • Infection: A previous chlamydia infection may sometimes cause salpingitis. Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted bacteria that commonly causes pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Researchers found that some people with salpingitis have remnants of the chlamydia bacteria in the affected fallopian tube.
  • Lining overgrowth: Some cases of salpingitis may result from tissue overgrowth of the inner layer of the fallopian tube. This extra tissue may then cause the growth of cysts, fibroids, and the thickening of the fallopian tube.
  • Congenital abnormality: This theory suggests that glands forming incorrectly in the fallopian tubes during development may cause salpingitis. However, most evidence points to the first two possible causes.

Ectopic pregnancy is a significant concern associated with salpingitis.

An ectopic pregnancy is when a fetus starts growing outside the uterus. It is a very dangerous condition for the pregnant person and requires immediate treatment.

Salpingitis causes inflammation and scar tissue in the fallopian tubes. Because of this, it often blocks the egg from traveling to the uterus. This complication increases the risk of a fertilized egg implanting outside the uterus, leading to ectopic pregnancy.

A recent study of ectopic pregnancies discovered that chronic salpingitis was present in 44% of cases. Acute salpingitis was present in 23% of cases.

A person may not experience symptoms in the early stages of salpingitis. Sometimes, even in severe cases, a person may show no symptoms and be unaware of the condition. They may discover the salpingitis when undergoing infertility investigations or if they have an ectopic pregnancy.

People who do experience symptoms may have:

Read about the signs and symptoms of blocked fallopian tubes.

To diagnose salpingitis, doctors will ask questions about a person’s symptoms and medical history. They will also physically examine the pelvic area to check for tenderness or abnormal findings.

If a doctor suspects salpingitis, they will order several diagnostic tests to confirm the diagnosis. These tests may include:

  • Hysterosalpingography (HSG): This X-ray procedure checks for blockages in the uterus and fallopian tubes.
  • Laparoscopy: This surgical procedure involves making short incisions in the abdomen. This allows a doctor to use a small lighted camera to examine the uterus and fallopian tubes internally.
  • Tissue sample: During the laparoscopy, the doctor can take a small tissue sample for observation under a microscope.

Read more about laparoscopy.

Treatment of salpingitis depends on the severity of the condition and the underlying cause.

Antibiotics are the primary treatment for salpingitis caused by a bacterial infection.

Pain medications may help people experiencing severe pain from salpingitis.

Hormone therapy using gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs (GnRH-a) sometimes helps reduce inflammation in the fallopian tubes. This treatment is especially helpful if the person also has endometriosis.

IVF may be an effective option for people with salpingitis who want to become pregnant. The success rate of live births with IVF is about 80%.

Reconstructive surgery of the fallopian tube is another option. The success rate of live births after this procedure is about 68%.

Early treatment for salpingitis may help prevent severe scarring and decrease the risk of complications. However, if the condition progresses without treatment, scarring may permanently affect the fallopian tubes and cause infertility.

Salpingitis is inflammation of the fallopian tubes. Without treatment, it can cause problems with fertility. Salpingitis may occur due to bacterial infection, overgrowth of the fallopian tube inner lining, or congenital abnormality during development.

Some people experience no symptoms and only discover salpingitis during infertility investigations. Others may experience symptoms such as lower abdominal pain, nausea, and fever.

Salpingitis puts a person at higher risk for ectopic pregnancy. Treatment and management may include antibiotics, reconstructive surgery, or IVF. In some cases, hormonal therapy can help decrease inflammation in fallopian tubes.

With proper treatment, many people with salpingitis can recover and become pregnant.