03 Jan Salpingitis and Its Effect on the Fallopian Tubes and Fertility
It is most often caused by bacterial infections or through having a sexually transmitted disease. The bacteria must find a way to gain access to the woman’s reproductive system, in order for the infection to actually take place.
There are several ways that this can be accomplished and they include:
- Sexual intercourse
- The insertion of an IUD (Intrauterine Device)
Here are some of the most common forms of bacteria that are responsible for the development of this condition. They are:
- Gonococcus (this particular type of bacteria causes’ gonorrhea)
There are two different forms of this condition and they are acute Salpingitis and chronic Salpingitis. The difference between the two is as follows:
Acute Salpingitis: The fallopian tubes become swollen and red and emit extra amounts of liquid, which often causes the inner walls of the tubes to become stuck together. In some cases, the tubes can even become stuck to structures that are close, like the intestines. It is possible in rare cases, for the tubes to actually rupture, which can cause a dangerous and possibly fatal infection of the abdominal cavity.
Chronic Salpingitis: This form usually occurs following an acute attack of the condition, but is much milder. It also does not have a tendency to produce very many noticeable symptoms; however, it does last longer than the acute form.
This condition is one of the most common causes of infertility in women, because time is so very important. Without rapid treatment, the infection has the distinct likelihood of actually doing permanent damage to the fallopian tubes, which will mean that the egg(s) that are released with each menstrual cycle will be unable to meet up with the sperm. Also, the inflammation causes extra fluid secretion, or even pus in some cases, to collect inside of the tube as well. And what many people are unaware of is the fact that if one tube becomes infected, the other tube usually becomes infected also, due to the fact that the bacteria move by way of the nearby lymph vessels.
The symptoms of this condition include but are not limited to:
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Lower back pain
- Spotting between periods
- Abdominal pain on both sides
- Extreme pain during menstrual cycles
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Pain during ovulation
- Abnormal color and smell of vaginal discharge
- Frequent urination
Salpingitis is sometimes referred to as (PID) or pelvic inflammatory disease; however, (PID) does not really have an accurate definition and is used often to refer to a number of diseases in the upper genital tract of a female. Some of these include endometriosis, parametritis, infection in the pelvic peritoneum and oophoritis. The difference between using the term (PID) and Salpingitis is that in contrast, Salpingitis does not refer to anything except the inflammation and infection in the fallopian tubes.
The methods used to determine whether or not someone has this condition are:
- Pelvic exam
- Blood tests
- General exam
- Mucus swab
Following a positive diagnosis, the next step is to decide exactly how it should be treated. The first line of treatment is almost always antibiotics, which is helpful in approximately 80% of cases. The next step would be to hospitalize the patient in order to administer antibiotics by IV, and the last method would be surgery. This option is usually only used if the condition resists the drug treatment.
If this condition is not taken care of, complications can arise and cause additional problems as well as infertility issues also. The longer a woman has this condition, the more chance she will have of becoming infertile.
Some of the more common complications from this condition are:
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Abscesses on the ovaries
- Infection of sexual partners
- Infection to nearby structures (for example, the uterus or ovaries)
The lifestyle risk factors that can have a large impact on a woman’s chance of contracting Salpingitis include participating in sexual intercourse without the use of a condom and having had a prior infection due to a sexually transmitted disease. Additionally, sexual intercourse may help to expedite the spread of this condition from vagina to fallopian tube(s). This can be done by sperm carrying organisms upward and with uterine contractions.
Remember, early detection is the key, along with rapid and complete treatment.