Oophoritis refers to the inflammation of one or both ovaries. This usually occurs at the same time as salpingitis (infection of the fallopian tube(s) and is termed Salpingo-oophoritis), pelvic inflammatory disease and/or other infections. As the ovaries produce eggs, such inflammation is very likely to have an effect on fertility.
The major cause of oophoritis, as with salpingitis and pelvic inflammatory disease in general is gonorrhea or chlamydia which infect the vagina and move into the uterus, fallopian tubes and then the ovaries. The most common way a woman develops PID is by having unprotected sex with someone who has a sexually transmitted infection.
However, such infections may also enter the body during surgical procedures, such as:
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- Insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD)
- Endometrial biopsy
Symptoms are similar to pelvic inflammatory disease and salpingitis:
- Lower back pain
- Pelvic pain
- Tenderness on internal examination
- Side body tenderness
- Vaginal discharge with abnormal color or smell
- Bleeding after intercourse
- Frequent or painful urination
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Increased menstrual cramping
- Irregular menstrual bleeding
- No menstruation
NB: There often are no symptoms especially with Chlamydia.
- Pregnancy test
- C-reactive protein (CRP)
- WBC count
- Vagina or cervix-cultured samples looking for gonorrhea, chlamydia
- Pelvic ultrasound or CT scan looking for other causes like abscesses or areas of infection around the fallopian tubes and ovaries
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
Such infections can be very hard to treat, usually with antibiotics, and even with resolution, can be passed back and forth between the patient and an untreated partner.
Chronic, resistant forms of infection require specialized treatment. Read our Clinics section to discover treatment providers who are especially equipped to deal with infections causing infertility.