Salpingitis - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Salpingitis is an infection of the fallopian tubes also known as the oviduct that constitutes a part of the female reproductive tract. It can also be referred to as Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which means infection and inflammation of any part of the female reproductive system. Salpingitis is a specific term for inflammation of the fallopian tubes 


Anatomy of the female internal reproductive organs:

The female reproductive organs constitute the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and vagina.

The ovaries are responsible for producing an egg (ovum) every month and the uterus is responsible for bearing the fetus throughout the pregnancy. The fallopian tubes, also known as oviducts, connect the uterus with the ovaries giving a passage for the egg to come to the uterus. The uterus is connected to the vagina or birth canal-a muscular canal that is responsible for the reception of the penis during sexual intercourse and the provision of a passageway for the baby during childbirth. The vagina connects the uterus to the external reproductive organs.


Causes of salpingitis

Usually, the female reproductive organs are sterile. There should be an introduction of some organisms to the internal environment. This can be due to:

  • Sexual intercourse

  • An Intrauterine device (IUD)

  • Childbirth

  • Cervical biopsy

  • Endometrial biopsy

  • Dilation and curettage (D&C)

  • Miscarriage

  • Abortion


Organisms that cause salpingitis:


Some of the most common organisms causing salpingitis are:


  • Mycoplasma

  • Chlamydia

  • Staphylococci

  • Streptococci

  • Gonococcus


Symptoms of Salpingitis


The symptoms of salpingitis are;


  • Abnormal vaginal discharge

  • Backache

  • Spotting in between periods

  • Frequent urination

  • Pain during periods (dysmenorrhea)

  • Pain during sex (dyspareunia)

  • Fever

  • Nausea 

  • Vomiting


Complications of Salpingitis:

If left untreated, salpingitis can become complicated. The following complications may arise:


The spread of infection to sex partners


 Many infections are transmitted by sexual contact. Having sex when infected can spread the infection to the sex partners too and this infection can spread further by sexual contact.


The spread of infection to other organs


In the human body, organs are closely related to each other and they share the blood supply and lymph vessels with each other. The blood and lymph can serve as a transport medium for different organisms spread to different organs. Moreover, the infection can spread by local invasion too, complicating the infection further.


Ectopic pregnancy


 Salpingitis can result in an ectopic pregnancy as it prevents the egg from reaching the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy means implantation of the fetus anywhere other than the uterus. The most common location for ectopic pregnancy is the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancy is dangerous as it may rupture leading to severe bleeding.


Infertility


One of the most feared complications of salpingitis is infertility. Salpingitis can result in permanent damage and scarring of the fallopian tubes that block the passage of the egg thereby, preventing the fertilization of the egg. 


Tubo-ovarian abscess

A tubo-ovarian abscess is a collection of pus in the ovaries and the fallopian tubes. It can be life-threatening if the abscess ruptures which will spread the infection to other organs.


Sepsis

If left untreated, salpingitis can cause sepsis and septic shock.


Treatment of Salpingitis


The treatment of salpingitis usually involves the administration of antibiotics to clear up the bacteria. Surgery may be recommended if the infection is complicated. The sexual partner of the infected person may need antibiotics too as they might be infected too and can spread the infection to others and back to the treated patient.


Conclusion

Salpingitis is an infection of the fallopian tubes. It should not be much of a problem if diagnosed and treated promptly, but if it is left untreated, it can result in complications. 

If you experience any symptoms of salpingitis, it is highly recommended to see your doctor.


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