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What Is a Womb Infection?

By Amanda Barnhart
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Womb or uterine infections are usually relatively harmless if diagnosed and treated early. Infections can occur anywhere in the uterus, but they commonly affect the lining. This type of infection is called endometritis. Another common type of womb infection called pelvic inflammatory disease infects the womb and cervix, and sometimes the ovaries and Fallopian tubes as well. Common symptoms of a uterine infection include lower abdominal pain, fever, abnormal vaginal discharge or bleeding, and abdominal swelling.

A womb infection can occur in any woman due to abnormal vaginal bacteria, but infections are more common in women who have a sexually-transmitted disease, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, and women who have recently given birth. Uterine infections are more common in women who deliver via a Cesarean section, and doctors often give these patients antibiotics for a few days after the birth to ward off potential infections. Other possible causes include procedures that involve entering the uterus, such as having an intrauterine device placed for birth control or undergoing a D and C, or uterine scraping, for diagnostic reasons or to remove uterine tissue following a miscarriage.

Most womb infections do not cause serious complications if they are treated properly, so it is important for women who suspect they may have an infection to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. The infection could spread to the blood stream, causing serious illness, or migrate to the Fallopian tubes where it may do permanent damage that affects fertility. Doctors diagnose an infection in the womb by performing a pelvic examination, which often includes tissue samples from the cervix and womb to identify the bacteria responsible for the infection and to diagnose any other illnesses or diseases. They may also take blood samples to perform cultures to determine if the infection has spread to the blood stream.

Antibiotics heal most uterine infections, and symptoms often improve within a few days. Women who develop a womb infection after a Cesarean birth are usually treated in the hospital, while other patients are often treated on an outpatient basis. Some infections, particularly cases of pelvic inflammatory disease, do not clear up with the first round of antibiotic treatment. In these cases, doctors may prescribe a different antibiotic until the symptoms clear. Patients diagnosed with chlamydia or other infections that contributed to the womb infection may require other prescription medications or medical care to cure or control the symptoms of the underlying disease to prevent further uterine infections.

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Discussion Comments

By MrsPramm — On Jan 10, 2013

@irontoenail - Well, you could just as easily say this is why no one should have abortions in the first place. The fact that they can lead to infection shows that they aren't a healthy thing to do.

On the other hand, I guess you can get the same infection from a Cesarean section and no one is calling for them to be illegal. So, I guess the issue for the pro-lifers isn't really the physical comfort of the mother, but the question of whether the fetus should be given rights.

By irontoenail — On Jan 10, 2013

This is one of the reasons that, even though I'm not a huge fan of abortions, I still think it's better to have them legally available than to have women trying to seek them in back alleys.

This kind of infection would be the least of the problems of someone who gets an abortion in that way. Often the conditions are unsanitary and the girls and women aren't given any instructions on womb infection symptoms or how to care for themselves after it happens.

Personally I would prefer if people would look for solutions to the problem of unplanned pregnancies in the first place, rather than protesting for or against abortions, but stopping that kind of backstreet butchery and this sort of aftermath is a good thing to me.

By KoiwiGal — On Jan 10, 2013

Unfortunately, it's easier than you might think to dismiss the symptoms of a womb infection, which is why women often end up losing their fertility. If you are having stomach pain and fever it's better not to dismiss it, because the pain isn't really typical of a cold or flu.

Once it's done, there are no symptoms until you try to get pregnant and eventually the doctor finds the scarring.

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