Fallopian tube and ovarian inflammation – causes, symptoms & treatment

Fallopian tube and ovarian inflammation

Inflammation of the fallopian tubes and ovaries (medical: adnexitis ) is one of the serious diseases in the gynecological field. Inflammation is often caused by bacterial infections. The disease can be acute or chronic. If left untreated, there can be major complications, including infertility

What is fallopian tube and ovarian inflammation?

In most cases, inflammation of the fallopian tubes and inflammation of the ovaries always occur together. Isolated Fallopian tube or ovarian infections are extremely rare.

Both sides of the ovary are usually inflamed. It mostly affects women of reproductive age. The disease occurs very rarely before puberty and after menopause . The occurrence of fallopian tube and ovarian inflammation depends heavily on the hygiene and sexual activity of those affected.

The disease often lasts a very long time and affects entire lives, sometimes significantly, and can lead to serious complications and even to infertility. Among the gynecological diseases, fallopian tube and ovarian inflammation are serious diseases.


In most cases, inflammation of the fallopian tubes and ovaries is caused by a bacterial infection. Viruses rarely play a role in this. There are various pathogens that can cause the disease. Inflammation is often caused by gonococci .

But Chlamydia trachomatis, staphylococci , streptococci and other pathogens can also trigger inflammation of the fallopian tubes and ovaries. In most cases there are so-called mixed infections. This means that several pathogens are responsible for the infection. The pathogens can reach the ovaries and fallopian tubes in various ways. If the pathogens get from the vagina via the uterus into the fallopian tubes and ovaries, this is referred to as an ascending infection.

In a descending infection, the pathogens from a neighboring organ, such as the appendix, get into the ovaries and fallopian tubes. A hematogenous infection occurs when the pathogens spread through the bloodstream and thus trigger inflammation of the fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

In most cases, acute inflammation of the fallopian tubes and ovaries is manifested by pulling pains on one or both sides of the abdomen, depending on whether only one side is affected or both. In the majority of women, symptoms appear about a week after menstruation. The stomach can be bloated, the abdominal wall is tense and reacts sensitively to pressure.

The affected women also usually feel exhausted and ill. Other symptoms such as painful intercourse, vaginal discharge that smells bad , bleeding between periods and painful urination . Constipation or diarrhea as well as nausea with nausea are also possible. During a gynecological examination, the cervix is ​​sensitive to pain, the uterus is enlarged and also reacts with pain when touched.

Affected women should consult a gynecologist for such symptoms to clarify the cause. If acute inflammation of the fallopian tubes/ovaries is not treated or is not treated adequately, it can become chronic and cause recurring inflammation with scarring. In addition, the general condition is weakened and irregularities in the menstrual cycle can also occur.

Diagnosis & History

In order to diagnose fallopian tube and ovarian inflammation, a gynecological examination provides the first indications of the disease. These include a tender and enlarged uterus, pain in the cervix when moving, and discharge . With the help of a swab from the cervix, the pathogens can be detected and the number of white blood cells can be determined.

For this purpose, the white blood cells are counted under the microscope and a culture is created with the swab material. This provides information about which pathogens are present and which antibiotics can be used for treatment. A blood test can also provide information about existing signs of inflammation. Ultrasound examination or a reflection of the abdominal cavity can provide the doctor with further information.

Rapid treatment is crucial for the course of the disease. Complications can occur if the inflammation is treated too late or not at all. In this way, the inflammation can spread to the after-organs. Protracted pain or even infertility can be the result of chronic fallopian tube and ovarian inflammation.

If abdominal pain occurs on the right side, the doctor should rule out appendicitis . Furthermore, laparoscopy can clarify  an acute abdomen.


Inflammation of the fallopian tubes and ovaries, also known as adnexitis, develops either alongside or after vaginal inflammation and mostly affects young women. The symptom rarely appears during adolescence and menopause. The symptom arises due to an infection in the vaginal region.

There is a connection between poor hygiene and increased sexual activity. Affected women complain of severe lower abdominal pain, exhaustion and fever. In most cases, the symptom is misinterpreted by the patient himself. At the first sign, it is advisable, especially for young women, to seek medical help immediately.

According to the findings, antibiotics and sufficient fluid intake are administered in medical therapy in order to contain the pathogen. If the inflammation of the fallopian tubes and ovaries are not treated in time, the consequences of complications that cause serious chronic damage accumulate. The symptom can spread in a few months and cause peritonitis. Foci of pus and abscesses can form in the abdominal cavity.

If pus accumulates in the abdominal cavity, an operation must be carried out immediately, since the germs can cause blood poisoning. If a chronic stage is reached, there is a risk of adhesions in the ovaries and, if you want to have children, a possible ectopic pregnancy and even sterility. In the case of chronic adnexitis and pain treatment that is no longer effective, surgical intervention can only rarely be avoided.

When should you go to the doctor?

In the event of unusual pain in the lower abdomen, gastrointestinal complaints or bleeding between periods, there may be an inflammation of the fallopian tubes or ovaries. If the symptoms do not subside after a week at the latest or if they even increase in intensity and duration over the course of time, we recommend a visit to the doctor. This is especially true if the symptoms mentioned occur after a vaginal infection. If other symptoms such as pain when urinating or bleeding occur, medical advice is required.

Other warning signs are purulent discharge from the vagina and a painful uterus. As the disease progresses, swollen and pressure-sensitive fallopian tubes and ovaries also appear. Women who notice these symptoms should make an appointment with a gynecologist and have the causes clarified and, if necessary, treated.

If an inflammation of the fallopian tubes or ovaries is left untreated, it can develop into chronic adnexitis. This condition requires extensive medical treatment, which often lasts months or years and is associated with complications such as infertility. Therefore, acute inflammation of the fallopian tubes or ovaries should be medically examined and treated.

Treatment & Therapy

The treatment of fallopian tube and ovarian inflammation is normally always conservative, i.e. with the help of medication. Surgical treatment may only be necessary in the event of complications. This may be necessary, for example, if abscesses have formed in the pelvic area. Conservative treatment is usually with antibiotics.

A broad-spectrum antibiotic is usually used, since in the majority of cases of inflammation of the fallopian tubes and ovaries, several pathogens are involved. In addition to antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs are often used. These are drugs that counteract the inflammatory process. In addition, most patients are also prescribed pain-relieving preparations. A treatment can last up to 20 days.

Even after the acute symptoms have subsided, the treatment should definitely be continued. This is important because infertility can occur if the inflammation has not completely healed. This also prevents the pathogens from multiplying further and possibly developing resistance to the antibiotic used. Sexual intercourse should be avoided during the acute symptoms . In addition, bed rest should be observed in acute fallopian tube and ovarian inflammation .

Outlook & Forecast

The prognosis of fallopian tube or ovarian inflammation is good. In about 80% of the registered cases, timely and good medical care results in healing and freedom from symptoms.

Without drug treatment, there is a risk of the inflammation spreading to the neighboring organs of the abdomen. At best, this delays the healing process, but it can also cause other serious complications. In addition to peritonitis , appendicitis can also develop. Pain, digestive problems, and tissue damage to the organs can develop. In severe cases, the patient is threatened with a life-threatening condition. Advanced inflammation of the gut can lead to rupture of the organ .

If the inflammation of the fallopian tubes or ovaries develops into a chronic course of the disease, a significant reduction in quality of life can be expected due to existing impairments. In addition, the inflammation in this case increases the risk of infertility in women. This can trigger mental illnesses and significantly worsen the general state of health.

A stable immune system and a healthy lifestyle are therefore important for a good prognosis for fallopian tube and ovarian inflammation. In addition, there should be no other previous illnesses that could lead to delays. If these conditions are met, medical treatment will achieve complete freedom from symptoms within a few weeks without further consequential damage.


Fallopian tube and ovarian inflammation can be prevented to a certain extent. Careful personal hygiene and good sexual hygiene can prevent infection. Using condoms is a good protection against vaginal infections . These are often the cause of fallopian tube and ovarian inflammation.


As a rule, the aftercare measures for fallopian tube and ovarian inflammation are very limited. The disease itself should first be fully examined and treated by a doctor. Only by completely healing these inflammations can further complaints or complications be avoided.

The earlier the inflammation of the fallopian tubes and ovaries is detected, the better the further course of these diseases. For this reason, a doctor must be consulted at the first symptoms and signs of one of these inflammations. Since those affected are usually dependent on taking antibiotics, it is always important to ensure the correct dosage and the correct duration of intake.

Even after the symptoms of the inflammation of the fallopian tubes and ovaries have subsided, the antibiotics should still be taken if this has been prescribed by the doctor. If anything is unclear or in doubt, a doctor should always be contacted to prevent complications. Furthermore, sexual intercourse should be avoided during the treatment of fallopian tube and ovarian inflammation.

The patient should always rest and pay attention to bed rest. Efforts should be avoided. In most cases, inflammation of the fallopian tubes and ovaries can be treated relatively well, so that the life expectancy of those affected is not reduced.

You can do that yourself

Since there is a great risk of infertility if left untreated, inflammation of the fallopian tubes or ovaries should always be examined by a gynecologist . The result of this examination determines the subsequent treatment.

Antibiosis usually lasts several days. Since this also paralyzes the intestines and kills the healthy intestinal bacteria, those affected can take probiotic bacteria at the same time. These are available in pharmacies in powder or drop form. At the same time, this supports the immune system, which, in addition to antibiotics, is particularly challenged by the existing inflammation. In addition, an inflammation of the fallopian tubes is always associated with a weakened intestinal flora . Pain- relieving medication such as ibuprofen (analgesic) can also be taken for a limited period of time.

Bed rest is recommended to help the body recover . The spread of the pathogens can be countered by drinking enough liquid – still mineral water and unsweetened herbal teas are ideal – and by eating a diet rich in vital substances and minerals . Micronutrient therapy as a dietary supplement could also help. For example, selenium has been shown to reduce inflammatory processes in the body.

Sexual intercourse should be avoided. Apis D4 (right-sided complaints) and Lachesis D12 (left-sided complaints) help homeopathically . In order to prevent re-infection, care should be taken to ensure adequate hygiene in the genital area of ​​both partners before sexual intercourse.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.