Definition - What does Oophoritis mean?

Oophoritis is an inflammation of the ovaries, which often occurs in combination with salpingitis (inflammation of the uterine tubes), and is categorized as a pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). It is usually triggered by a bacterial infection. Mostly, the bacteria gain entrance into the pelvis through sexually transmitted infections (STI) like gonorrhea and chlamydia. If left untreated, impaired fertility due to adhesions and scars is a major concern. Women with any form of PID are also prone to develop an ectopic pregnancy.

FertilitySmarts explains Oophoritis

The symptoms of oophoritis vary with the severity of the infection, but may include:

  • Severe lower abdominal pain (occurs somewhere around the period when your menses are ending and/or in the first 10 days following menses, and typically lasts less than 7 days)
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding during menstrual cycle
  • High fever and chills
  • Vomiting
  • Unusual and foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Pain during sexual intercourse

Based on the above symptoms, a pelvic examination, a transvaginal ultrasound, and STI screening help to diagnose the condition. The definitive diagnosis of PID, however, requires a laparoscopic examination.

The inflammation of the ovaries and uterine tubes can progress to the extent where the pus gets collected in the ovaries and tubes, giving rise to a condition called tubo-ovarian abscess (TOA). A TOA can rupture, leading to peritonitis (inflammation of the lining of the abdominal wall and organs). Sometimes, PID paves a way to inflammation of the capsule surrounding the liver - a condition termed as Fitz-Hugh−Curtis syndrome.

Milder cases can be managed with a course of antibiotics, whereas more severe cases (including the development of complications) call for surgery.

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