Salpingitis is a type of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) that affects the female reproductive system and is characterised by infection and swelling in the fallopian tubes, also termed as salpinges. A pair of fallopian tubes are present in women, which are otherwise referred to as oviducts or uterine tubes. During the ovulation period, the eggs released from the ovaries traverse along the fallopian tubes and are gradually pushed towards the uterus by minuscule hair-like projections. The fallopian tubes are hence a key organelle of the gynaecological tract which supply an ideal environment for fertilization processes of the male sperm with female ovum and subsequent foetus development in the uterus for a healthy pregnancy.
Salpingitis results in inflammation of the fallopian tubes, which obstructs their structure and impedes the passage of eggs to the uterus. Either one or both fallopian tubes can be afflicted by salpingitis at the same time and very often, the infection in one tube spreads to the other as well. If the signs of salpingitis are not treated in time, it could lead to grave consequences to health, such as infection in the ovaries, uterus or even ectopic pregnancy. It is hence advised for women to promptly report any typical indications to a doctor, for optimal healthcare.
Causes Of Salpingitis:
Salpingitis is predominantly triggered by sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) – chlamydia and gonorrhoea but is also instigated by certain other bacterial pathogens like staphylococcus, streptococcus. In the case of STDs, these infectious microbes are primarily transmitted into the female reproductive tubules by means of sexual intercourse.
However, in rare instances, certain medical procedures such as insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD) or gastrointestinal conditions of the lower abdomen like appendicitis may also be the cause of salpingitis.
Salpingitis induces numerous discomforting indications such as:
- Intense pain during periods
- Oddly coloured, foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
- Uneasiness during intercourse
- Low back pain
- Passing urine very often
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach cramps
- Pain in the lower abdomen
If left untreated, salpingitis invariably triggers severe health complications, including:
- Infection of the surrounding organs in the reproductive tract – chiefly the uterus and ovaries
- Abscess in the tubes of the ovaries
- Ectopic pregnancy from obstructions in the fallopian tube structures
- Pelvic pain and abdominal discomfort for long durations of several months
- Infertility due to massive damage to the fallopian tubes
The doctor thoroughly records all signs of uneasiness encountered by the patient, besides enquiring if the pain is more intense during or before the menstrual cycle and checking the pelvic area for any inflammation, tenderness. The physician also takes note of the woman’s complete medical history, to ascertain if they have already had STD’s in the past, which may not have been remedied entirely, with the infection still remaining in the reproductive tract.
Certain assays are conducted, consisting of blood tests, urine analysis, tissues swab studies of the vagina, cervix, to spot any bacterial infections that may be triggering salpingitis. Ultrasound scans and diagnostic laparoscopy procedures are done to obtain images of the fallopian tubes and other parts of the reproductive tract like the ovaries, uterus, to check for any irregularities, obstructions in the structures.
Since bacterial infections passed on through sexual contact are the major factors prompting salpingitis, the foremost treatment measure is prescription antibiotics. These medications are given by the doctor to either be taken orally as per a specified dosage regimen or administered intravenously, to banish the disease-causing bacteria from the system.
If the bacterial infection and subsequent advancement of salpingitis have triggered major inflammation, with abscesses, adhesions, scars developing in the fallopian tubes, then the medical professional recommends surgery to remove these aberrations. This helps restore normal assembly of the fallopian tubes and ensures healthy menstruation, ovulation and pregnancy in women.