Endometritis is an inflammation or irritation of the lining of the uterus (called the Endometrium). Endometritis is caused by an infection of the uterus, and it is possible for it to occur at the same time as other pelvic infections. Infections can be due to:
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): STIs such as chlamydia or gonorrhea can lead to an infection of the uterus, leading to endometritis.
- Vaginal bacteria in the uterus: Normal bacteria commonly found in the vagina can cause endometritis if they enter the uterus.
- Tuberculosis: Genital TB can cause endometritis.
- Childbirth or miscarriage: The risk for endometritis increases following childbirth (especially a C-section delivery or a prolonged labor). It is also common for the uterus lining to become inflamed following miscarriage.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): PID is an infection of the pelvis that can often cause endometritis.
Any medical procedure that involves entering the uterus through the cervix can also be a risk factor for endometritis, as these can provide a pathway for bacteria to enter. Some medical procedures that can increase the risk of endometritis are:
- Placement of an IUD (Intrauterine Device)
- Endometrial biopsy (a sample of the uterus lining tissue is taken)
- Dilation and curettage (uterine scraping), or surgery involving the uterus
- Hysteroscopy (a small telescope is inserted into the uterus to look for abnormalities)
Symptoms of Endometritis
Symptoms of endometritis include:
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Abdominal swelling
- Vaginal bleeding or unusual discharge
- Fever or chills
- Generally feeling unwell or extremely fatigued
- Pain in the rectal area
- Constipation or pain when going to the bathroom
In order to diagnose endometritis, your physician will perform a pelvic exam to detect any tenderness of the uterus or discharge from the cervix. Your doctor will also likely want to rule out any other causes for present symptoms through the process of:
- Blood testing: A complete blood count, or CBC, can be used to monitor for possible infection or assess inflammatory conditions.
- Cervical cultures: Your doctor may take a swab from the cervix to test chlamydia, gonorrhea, or other bacteria.
- Wet mount: Discharge from the cervix may be collected and looked at under a microscope. This will allow your doctor to identify other causes of an infection or inflammation.
- Endometrial biopsy: With this procedure, the cervix is dilated to allow a small instrument into the uterus. The instrument allows your doctor to take a small sample of the endometrial lining, which is then sent to the lab for analysis.
- Laparoscopy or hysteroscopy: These surgical procedures allow the doctor to look directly at the uterus.
Endometritis can be effectively treated using antibiotics to fight the bacteria causing uterine inflammation. If the infection is severe enough, antibiotics may need to be administered intravenously in the hospital.
North Florida Ob-Gyn of Jacksonville Beach
It’s important to see your doctor anytime you experience pelvic pain, or any abnormal discharge or bleeding. While endometritis is treatable, some infections can lead to severe or life-threatening complications, and so it is important to seek treatment as quickly as possible. At North Florida Ob-Gyn of Jacksonville Beach, we want to be the group you turn to for all of your gynecologic and pregnancy needs. All of the Physicians of North Florida Ob-Gyn of Jacksonville Beach are board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology and maintain this certification throughout their careers. If you are experiencing pelvic pain or are concerned you may have endometritis, contact us to set up an appointment today.