Fallopian Tube Infection
An inflammation of the fallopian tubes is called “Salpingitis.” There are two fallopian tubes and these are located at either side of a woman’s uterus. These tubes have their openings situated near the ovaries. When there is salpingitis, excess fluids or pus gathers inside these tubes. When one tube becomes infected, there is a tendency for the other tube to become infected as well. This is due to bacterial migration through the lymph vessels, located in close proximity to the fallopian tubes.
Salpingitis is a very common cause of the loss of fertility in women. If salpingitis is not treated in a prompt manner, the infection may cause permanent damage to the tubes so that eggs released during the monthly menses cannot be reached by the male sperm. Another name for salpingitis is pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID. Salpingitis cases are divided between two types: chronic and acute.
Chronic salpingitis is the milder of the two forms, but often follows an attack of acute salpingitis. Chronic salpingitis tends to last longer and the patient may be unaware that she is harboring the condition, since there may be few or no noticeable symptoms.
Acute salpingitis is manifested by swollen, red fallopian tubes. The tubes excrete excess fluid which may cause the inner walls of the tubes to stick together. In some cases, the tubes will stick to other organs in the vicinity, for instance, the intestines. Less often, the tubes rupture, causing a serious abdominal cavity infection.
When symptoms of salpingitis are present, they tend to show up after the menstrual period has ended. These are the most common symptoms of salpingitis:
- Abnormal color or smell of the vaginal discharge
- Spotting in between menstrual periods
- Painful ovulation
- Painful or uncomfortable sexual intercourse
- Pain on both sides of the abdomen
- Low back pain
- Overactive bladder
- Nausea and/or vomiting
Almost always, salpingitis is due to a bacterial infection. The most common types of salpingitis-causing bacteria are: Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, and Mycoplasma. But salpingitis can also be caused by sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. The condition can only be diagnosed by a doctor, who will perform a pelvic examination, a vaginal mucus swab, and blood tests. Salpingitis treatment consists of antibiotic drug therapy.
There are several complications that can arise in salpingitis, including:
- Infection of structures in the vicinity of the tubes, for instance, the uterus or ovaries
- Transmission of infection to sexual partners
- Development of abscesses on the ovaries
- Tubal or ectopic pregnancy