Definition - What does Parametritis mean?

Parametritis is an inflammation of the parametrium, which is the tissue adjacent to the uterus that extends to the sides of the pelvis lying between the two layers of the broad ligament. The broad ligament is a tough band of tissue made up of double lining that covers the abdominal and pelvic cavity and organs. Parametritis is one of the several types of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and just like any other PID, it follows an ascending bacterial infection either from sexual or non-sexual practices.

Parametritis is also called pelvic cellulitis.

FertilitySmarts explains Parametritis

The bacteria associated with PID can gain entry into the parametrium after sexual activity by ascending from the vagina up into the uterus and then spread from the uterus to the adjacent tissues and organs. Acute inflammation of the cervix (cervicitis) or fallopian tubes (salpingitis) may account for the spread of infection to the parametrium. Sometimes, gynecological procedures like abortion, hysterectomy, cesarean section, D&C, and hysteroscopy can cause trauma to the uterus, breaching the cervical barrier, and resulting in parametritis.

A woman with parametritis can experience the following signs and symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Pelvic and/or lower abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Pain radiating down the leg
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Pain during intercourse

The inflammation can become chronic and in long-standing cases, the infection tends to spread to the fallopian tubes and ovaries, interfering with the transport of egg, fertilization, and a woman’s ability to conceive. It can also cause the seeding of pockets of pus in the pelvis, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Parametritis can also cause an ectopic pregnancy, which is where an embryo implants outside the normal location in the uterus.

The condition is usually diagnosed by a pelvic examination that reveals tenderness on touching the pelvic ligaments. An ultrasound may be needed to locate an abscess or pus formation.

Treatment includes an antibiotic course and eliminating the source of infection, such as the application of heat or electric current to the cervix in cervicitis. Severe cases require removal of the infected parametrium via laparoscopy.

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