What Is a Fallopian Tubes Infection?

A vaginal swab can be taken to test for fallopian tube infection.
A fallopian tubes infection that is left untreated my cause permanent damage in the female reproductive tract.
A diagram of the female reproductive system, including the fallopian tubes.
Article Details
  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 31 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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Fallopian tubes infection is a medical condition known as salpingitis, or pelvic inflammatory disease. It might be the result of bacterial infection or a sexually transmitted disease. The fallopian tubes are part of the female reproductive organ, and they serve as a vessel through which eggs are transferred from the ovaries to the uterus. An infection of the fallopian tubes might be mild or severe. It can be treated, but it might have some serious consequences if it is left untreated for long.

This type of infection is the leading cause of infertility in women. The bacterial infection usually starts in the vagina and spreads inward toward the fallopian tubes. Several factors might be responsible for the onset of fallopian tubes infection. Poor hygiene is a major factor, as is engaging in unprotected sex. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as gonorrhea and chlamydia also might cause an infection.

The symptoms of fallopian tubes infection vary with the type of bacteria and the severity of the infection. For instance, both chlamydia and gonorrhea are bacterial diseases that can lead to this type of infection. Chlamydia and gonorrhea produce mild symptoms such as nausea, a burning sensation while urinating, lower abdominal pain or vaginal discharge. These diseases can spread rapidly in the reproductive tract, including the fallopian tubes.


An infection of the fallopian tubes that is left untreated might cause permanent damage in the female reproductive tract. This condition can cause a great deal of scarring in the narrow, delicate lining of the wall of the uterus. The extensive scarring blocks the passage or opening in the fallopian tubes, making it difficult for eggs to pass from the ovaries to the uterus. When this happens, the woman will become infertile.

Another risk from fallopian tubes infection is ectopic pregnancy. When the fallopian tubes are only slightly damaged, a fertilized egg might become stuck inside as it tries to navigate its way through the narrow opening. The egg will start to develop inside a fallopian tube instead of the uterus. An ectopic pregnancy might cause the fallopian tube to rupture as the growing fetus causes it to expand beyond its capacity. This condition is very painful and might even lead to death from internal bleeding.

A medical professional will conduct different types of tests to determine whether a patient has a fallopian tubes infection. One of the most common tests is to take a vaginal swab and examine it in a laboratory. The result of the test will determine the type of treatment. If the infection is mild, a course of antibiotics will clear the bacterial infection. If the infection is severe, the physician might have to perform surgery to fix the problem.


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