What is endometritis?
Endometritis is inflammation of the lining of your uterus. This condition commonly occurs after a woman gives birth, but it may also occur in women who have not been pregnant.
What causes endometritis?
Infections are the most common cause and may be due to any of the following:
- Amniotic fluid: This may become infected before or during labor. If your baby passes meconium (first bowel movement) before you give birth, your risk of infection increases.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease: This is an infection of any of the female organs.
- Retained tissues: After delivery or a miscarriage, placenta or other pieces of tissue may be left inside your womb that cause an infection.
- Sexually transmitted infections: This is also known as STIs. You may get these diseases from having sex with infected partners. Ask your caregiver for more information about STIs.
What increases my risk of endometritis?
- C-section: This is surgery done to deliver your baby through your abdomen.
- Anemia: This is a lack of red blood cells. You may develop anemia if you lose large amounts of blood during a cesarian section (C-section).
- Infection: A womb infection early in your pregnancy increases your risk after you give birth.
- Procedures: Tests to check inside your uterus may use tools that irritate the lining of your uterus.
- Prolonged labor: This occurs when you have a long and difficult labor.
- Steroid medicine: This medicine may be given if your baby will be born too early (before 37 weeks). Steroid medicine helps increase the chance that your baby's lungs will function correctly.
What are the signs and symptoms of endometritis?
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Increased and foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Pain in your lower abdomen or perineum (area between your vagina and anus)
- Pain during sex
How is endometritis diagnosed?
Your caregiver will examine you. He may do a pelvic exam and check for other problems that could be causing your symptoms. You may also need any of the following:
- Blood tests: These will be done to check for an infection.
- Cultures: Samples of your urine, blood, and vaginal discharge may be taken to find the cause of your infection.
- Vaginal ultrasound: This test uses sound waves to show pictures of the inside of your uterus (womb) and ovaries. A small tube is placed into your vagina. Pictures of your uterus and ovaries are seen on a TV-like screen.
- CT scan: This test is also called a CAT scan. An x-ray machine uses a computer to take pictures of your abdomen. You may be given a dye before the pictures are taken to help caregivers see the pictures better. Tell the caregiver if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.
- Hysteroscopy: This is done to look at the lining of your uterus. A small scope with a light and camera is placed into your vagina and cervix. Liquid or gas may be put through the scope to help caregivers see better. A sample of tissue from your womb may also be taken during this test.
- Tissue biopsy: Your caregiver takes tissue from your womb and sends it to a lab for tests.
How is endometritis treated?
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Take them as directed.
- Evacuation: This is done to remove the tissues left in your womb after giving birth or an abortion.
- Needle aspiration: This may be needed to drain an abscess in your abdomen. A needle may be placed through your abdomen or vagina and used to remove the pus.
- Surgery: This may also be done to remove pus and infected tissue.
When should I contact my caregiver?
Contact your caregiver if:
- You have a fever.
- Your symptoms come back after treatment.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
When should I seek immediate care?
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- You feel lightheaded or you have fainted.
- You have vaginal bleeding that is not your monthly period.
- Your symptoms become worse, even after you start treatment with medicine.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.