Friday, June 08, 2012

Why hydrotubation is a waste of time and money

In the past, when reproductive technology was primitive, hydrotubation used to be a popular procedure for treating infertile women. The logic was simple. If the tubes were blocked, then “flushing” them with a liquid would result in opening them , as a result of the applied mechanical pressure. Often, doctors would add antibiotics , steroids and herbs to the fluid used for flushing, with the hope that these medicines would help to improve the efficacy of hydrotubation in improving tubal function.

These procedures were very popular with patients. They were simple to perform – and were cheap. They appealed to patients because they seemed to make a lot of sense – isn’t it best to treat a local problem with the help of local measures ?

Sadly, none of these techniques helped at all. This is hardly surprising. The fallopian tubes are far more sophisticated than a plumber’s pipe , and flushing them will not get the delicate cells which line the tube to start working properly. However, when there was nothing better to offer, hydrotubation was all poor doctors could perform, so the procedure remained popular for many decades.

Interestingly, some patients did get pregnant after hydrotubation. Of course, this was not as a result of the hydrotubation ; it was often just coincidental . However, doctors were happy to take the credit – which is why their delusion that hydrotubation was therapeutically effective was propagated for many years. ( Reading these medical journal articles today  is likely to make modern gynecologists cringe !)

In fact, in some poor countries, some doctors still use hydrotubation to treat infertility ! They use this for “ treating “ patients  with unexplained infertility; or perform it after doing an operative laparoscopy, to keep the “tubes open” !

Now, if hydrotubation was a harmless procedure, it really would not matter much. However, it does have major downsides. For one, it’s painful. Secondly, it’s often repeated many times. It wastes precious time – and patients get fed up and lose confidence in doctors when it does not work. Even worse, it can actually cause infertility, by introducing an infection into the pelvis, causing pelvic inflammatory disease and tubal blockade.

Hydrotubation is an obsolete procedure – and if your doctor advises it, please get a second opinion !

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  1. Hi. I am scheduled for the sessions. What would you profer to be the alternative solution for blocked fallopian tubes???

    1. Where are the tubes blocked ? cornual end ? fimbrial end ?
      How was the diagnosis made ?


      I need more information.

      Could you please send me your medical details by filling in the form at
      so I can guide you better ?

      Taking treatment at a world-class clinic will maximize your chances of success and give you peace of mind you did your best !

      We look forward to helping you to have a baby !

      Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD
      Malpani Infertility Clinic, Jamuna Sagar, SBS Road, Colaba

      Mumbai 400 005. India

      Clinic Mobile: 9867441589

      Tel: 91-22-22151065, 22151066, 2218 3270, 65527073

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    2. What's the method or process that we can know, the tube is bloked or not? If not, hydrotubation is needed or not?

    3. You need to do a HSG ( hysterosalpingogram, X-ray of the uterus and tubes, on Day 8 of your cycle ( to confirm your uterine cavity is normal and your fallopian tubes are open).



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