Salpingitis is one of the complications caused by Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, a sexually transmitted infection whereby the causative agent, usually a Gonococcus or Chlamydial infection, ascends upwards throughout the female genital tract, starting in the vagina and spreading to the superior structures of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. The resulting inflammation usually causes severe abdominopelvic pain and tenderness, with accompanying fever and vaginal discharge (Kumar, 2010).
Although Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is a treatable condition, the infection has the potential to produce long-term structural defects, that could cause infertility (Gibson, 1999). In the attempt to fight off the infection by the body’s immune response, many histological changes may result from the process, leading to scar tissue formation in place of normal endometrial tissue. In the organs where optimal functioning of the structures is essential for successful reproductivity, alterations resulting from cellular tissue repair may impede the ability for normal ovulation processes to occur. Some of the dysfunctions are the result of scarring of the tubes, and tuboovarian abscesses that permanently occlude the fallopian tube, inhibiting the passing of the ovum for fertilization (Bozoyan, 2006). Furthermore, the inflammation to the adnexa significantly increases the risk of ectopic pregnancies due to the resulting damages in tissue function induced by the infection and immune responses (Gibson, 1999). In addition, acute salpingitis is often undiagnosed, or seen in later stages, due to a slow progression of symptoms that may be only mildly experienced. When symptoms present as severe enough to seek treatment, the infection has often progressed to encompass the majority of the reproductive organs, and significant structural damage may have already occurred (Gibson, 1999).
As healthcare professionals, it is imperative to initiate aggressive treatment to eliminate the inflammation as soon as possible in order to prevent further damage and complications. Furthermore, early education on healthy and safe sexual practices should be initiated whenever possible to enhance understanding, and prevent incidences of sexually transmitted infections.
Bozoyan, M., (2006). Pelvic inflammatory disease; Sexually transmitted infections.
Armenian Medical Network. Retrieved from http://www.health.am/sex/more/pelvic_inflammatory_disease/
Gibson, M. (1999). Pelvic inflammatory disease: chronic sequelae of salpingitis.
Contemporary OB/GYN, 44(8) 123
Kumar, V. (2010). The female genital tract. Robbins and Cotran; Pathologic basis of disease, pp 1009-1010. Philadelphia: Elsevier.