Inflammation of the fallopian tubes and ovaries

"Adnexitis" is the medical umbrella term sometimes used to describe an inflammation of the fallopian tubes and ovaries, more commonly referred to as "pelvic inflammatory disease" (PID).

Overview

"Adnexitis" is the medical umbrella term sometimes used to describe an inflammation of the fallopian tubes and ovaries, more commonly referred to as "pelvic inflammatory disease" (PID). It mostly affects young women and is usually acute, but can also become chronic. It is caused by an infection, often starting in the vagina and ascending to the upper genital tract. Typical symptoms include severe pain in the lower abdomen, accompanied by urinary urgency and an increased temperature. During the acute stage, cooling, avoiding sex and getting plenty of bed rest can bring relief.

Symptoms

  • Acute adnexitis
    • Severe pain in the lower abdomen, usually more intense on the sides
    • Pain worsens when pressing on the abdominal wall
    • Vaginal discharge
    • Urinary urgency
    • Possible accompanying symptoms: increased temperature or fever, nausea, vomiting
  • Chronic adnexitis
    • Pressure pain (lower abdomen)
    • Feeling of pressure on one or both sides
    • Pain during intercourse
    • Difficult, sometimes painful to empty the bladder
    • Vaginal discharge (yellowish, rust-coloured, bloody)
    • Pain during bowel movements, constipation, diarrhoea

Complications/possible consequences

  • Scars and adhesions in the fallopian tubes and ovaries
    • Ectopic pregnancy
    • Destruction of ovary and fallopian tube tissues
    • Impediment to fertility
  • Spreading of the inflammation

Causes and treatment

Causes

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Physical examination
  • Smear test (cervical)
  • Blood test
  • Ultrasound
  • Laparoscopy, if necessary
Possible therapies
  • Painkillers and antispasmodic medication
  • Antibiotics
  • Surgery (laparoscopy), if necessary
    • Removal of adhesions
    • Depending on the course: removal of a fallopian tube

What can I do myself?

  • Acute stage: cooling (e.g. moist cold stomach poultices), no sex, bed rest
  • After the acute stage has subsided: moist warm stomach poultices
  • Chronic inflammation: fango packs, healing and mud baths
  • Follow the safer sex rules:
    • Always use a condom or femidom during sexual intercourse
    • Don't get sperm or blood (including menstrual blood) in your mouth, and don’t swallow

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When to see a doctor?

  • Severe pain in the lower abdomen, usually more intense on the sides
  • Cloudy, foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Difficult, sometimes painful to empty the bladder
  • Accompanying symptoms: fever, nausea, vomiting
  • For all unexplained, persistent lower abdomen symptoms

Synonyms

inflammation of the fallopian tubes, salpingitis and oophoritis, adnexitis, salpingitis

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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