Oophoritis and causes of oophoritis

Oophoritis and causes of oophoritis
April 21 22:41 2017

When it comes to women’s health, there many conditions to know and manage especially the conditions that are related to and could affect fertility. Oophoritis is one of the important women’s health conditions that could affect fertility if left untreated.

A woman has two ovaries, each placed on the other side of the uterus. The ovaries are linked to the rest of the female reproductive system by the fallopian tubes. The two ovaries are responsible for the production and storage of reproductive eggs. Affection of the ovaries or any other essential reproduction organs could lead to infertility. This is why it is important to know the signs and symptoms related to conditions that affect the reproductive system. This includes the causes of these conditions and how best to prevent them from occurring.


Oophoritis: Definition

Oophoritis is a medical condition that affects women of all ages. It is the inflammation of the ovaries, usually due to bacterial infections but other causes also exist. Generally, the term Oophoritis can be used to describe a condition known as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) especially when it is associated with Salpingitis which is the infection of the fallopian tubes. When associated with Salpingitis, the inflammation can spread through to other reproductive organs and progresses to the rest of the pelvic region.

The inflammation of the ovaries can affect one of the ovaries or both at the same time. Some patients develop Oophoritis of both ovaries one after the other in succession. The risk of infertility increases when both ovaries are affected or when the condition goes untreated.


Oophoritis associated with Salpingitis

When both the ovaries and the fallopian tubes are inflamed or infected, the condition is called Salpingo-oophoritis. Sapingo-oophoritis requires immediate diagnosis and treatment of both the symptoms and the cause.

Signs and Symptoms of Oophoritis

Oophoritis can progress without showing immediate symptoms or sometimes the symptoms are dismissed as banal and remain untreated. When the condition manifests, it can show acute or chronic symptoms.


Acute signs and symptoms of Oophoritis

Acute symptoms of Oophoritis can vary, with an association of the symptoms being the main reason why patients consult. The signs include:

  • Lower abdominal pain

The pain associated with Oophoritis occurs around the lower abdominal region on both sides, it is usually severe and can be confused with menstrual cramps.

  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding and sometimes bleeding outside of the menstrual periods.
  • Pain and discomfort during sexual activities
  • Unpleasant vaginal odor
  • Frequent urination
  • Burning sensation during urination


Chronic signs and symptoms of Oophoritis

  • Fever
  • Mild lower abdominal pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Malaise

When the following signs appear, it means the condition is now severe and patient may need to be hospitalized:

  • Severe abdominal pain with tenderness
  • Signs of peritonitis if the ovarian abscess have ruptured


Causes of Oophoritis

The main cause of oophoritis is bacterial infections. The bacteria are usually contracted through sexually transmitted diseases especially chlamydia and gonorrhea but other methods of contamination exist also, namely childbirth, abortion, insertion of intrauterine devices and more.

The reason why oophoritis is usually associated with salpingitis is that from the point of colonization by bacteria, the bacteria works its way up to the reproductive system passing by the cervix first before gaining access to the fallopian tubes on its way to the ovaries. The lining of the fallopian tubes is very fragile and as such the bacteria can easily infiltrate it there by causing an infection of the fallopian tubes associated with the infection of the ovaries.


Diagnosis of Oophoritis

Oophoritis is diagnosed clinically by a physician through a detailed physical exam associated with history taking. The context of the condition is what orients the physician to check for oophoritis. Generally, the physician will ask:

  • History of sexual intercourse
  • The nature of the sexual activities, whether there was protection used or not
  • Circumstances surrounding the apparition of the symptoms
  • Use of intrauterine devices
  • History of douching
  • History of child birth or abortion
  • History of infections of the reproductive and urinary system


The following complementary tests are then used to identify the oophoritis:

  • Culture tests of vaginal and cervical discharge.
  • Pelvic ultrasound to get a view on the ovaries and associated reproductive organs
  • Colpocentesis, this is the collection of ovarian fluid for analysis so the causing germ may be identified.
  • In severe and cases of diagnostic difficulty, laparoscopic examinations may be conducted.




Oophoritis may be treated medically of surgically.

Medical treatment

The treatment of Oophoritis depends on the severity of the condition and the patient in question. Generally, the first treatment option is antibiotic therapy. Before the specific germ causing the problem is identified, large scale antibiotics may be used to reduce microbial growth and stop the infection. In most cases the large scale antibiotics resolve the issue. In cases where the issue is resolved, the antibiotics may be optimized according to the tests performed to identify the causing germ.

In terms of symptomatic treatment, a hot pad may be applied to the lower abdomen in order to relive pain. The hot pad therapy may be associated with a warm bath 2 to 3 times a day for about 15 minutes.

During treatment and post treatment, douching and abstinence of sexual activities is advised until the condition has resolved.


Surgical treatment

Surgical treatment is applied if the medical treatment described above does not resolve the problem. The surgical treatment applied varies from patient to patient. The following surgical procedures may be performed:

  • Rapture and drainage of the ovarian abscess
  • Removal of the ovarian abscess
  • Removal of the ovaries 


To prevent Oophoritis, reproductive and urinary hygiene combined with protected sexual activities are recommended. Safe sex is the best form of prevention of any reproductive health infections. The use of intrauterine devices should be practiced under aseptic guidelines.



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