Salpingitis is an infection in the fallopian tube, also known as tubal infection. When a woman is affected with Salpingitis, excess fluids or pus accumulates within the tube. And there is a tendency of both the tubes getting infected as bacteria travels through the nearby lymph vessels thus affecting the other tube as well. Tubal infections are a common cause of infertility among women. To understand the symptoms, causes and treatment of tubal infections, let us go through this article.
Tubal infection also called Salpingitis is an infection and inflammation in the fallopian tubes. It is caused due to bacterial infection in the reproductive organs and the fallopian tubes. The fallopian tube are two fine tubes on either side of the uterus and is important as it carries the mature egg and the motile sperms, and the process of fertilisation takes place here.
Salpingitis is often seen in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), but PID can refer to many other diseases of the female upper genital tract. If not treated timely, the infection can cause permanent damage to the tubes and affect a woman’s fertility.
It can be divided into two types:
In Chronic Salpingitis, there may be no noticeable symptoms, but it can gradually damage the fallopian tubes without the woman even realising that she has an infection. But in acute cases, there may be some prominent symptoms like:
Tubal infections are caused by excessive growth of harmful bacteria in the fallopian tubes and through sexually transmitted diseases. The origin of the infection is the vagina, from which it gradually spreads to the fallopian tubes. Different micro-organisms that can cause tubal infection are:
Tubal Infection and Its Effect on Fertility
Tubal infections if not detected early can cause permanent damage to the fallopian tubes, thus blocking it. This can lead to infertility because the eggs that are released during ovulation can’t meet the sperm. In addition to that, the damage it causes to the fallopian tube can also increase the risk of Ectopic pregnancy. Other complications that can arise are:
If there are any symptoms of Salpingitis, it is advisable to visit the doctor immediately to reduce the risk of complications associated with it. To make an accurate diagnosis, the doctor might suggest some tests like:
Treatment will depend on the severity of the infection. Getting diagnosis at the right time is necessary because tubal infections if not identified at the right time can cause blockages, adhesions or scarring of tissues in the fallopian tubes which can lead to infertility.
A vaginal or cervical swab will help to determine the type of bacterial infection. Milder infections can be treated by administering antibiotics. But severe infections which have resulted in blockage of tubes would be needed to be removed. If the infection has caused an abscess, laparoscopy surgery may be done to drain the fluid.
If the obstruction can’t be removed surgically, and a woman is planning pregnancy then In vitro fertilisation (IVF) may be needed for a successful conception where the fallopian tubes are bypassed completely provided the sperm, egg and womb (uterus) are healthy. For success through IVF, the age and overall health of the woman would play a significant role.
Q1) How do you get an infection in the fallopian tubes?
A) Infection in the fallopian tubes is caused by bacterial infection. Common causes include sexually transmitted diseases like Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia.
Q2) Can you feel swollen fallopian tubes?
A) Inflammation of the fallopian tubes cannot be felt from the outside but can lead to unusual discharge from the vagina, pain in the lower abdomen, fever which will lead to the diagnosis of fallopian tube infections.
Q3) Is pregnancy possible with a swollen fallopian tube?
A) Swollen fallopian tubes would mean discharge of pus or some sticky fluid from the infection site which will accumulate in the fallopian tubes, so the mature egg would not be able to reach the uterus, and the sperm cannot reach the egg, thus preventing fertilisation and pregnancy.