Acute Salpingitis

Acute salpingitis is infection of the fallopian tubes. These 2 tubes carry the eggs from the ovary to the uterus. Pelvic pain is the main symptom of acute salpingitis.

Cross section front view of vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Fallopian tubes are inflamed.

What causes acute salpingitis?

A vaginal or cervical infection often causes salpingitis. If this infection travels up into your uterus (womb), it can reach your fallopian tubes. You may get the infection, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, through sexual activity. A surgery or a procedure, such as childbirth or insertion of an IUD, can also cause acute salpingitis, although this is rare. Salpingitis most commonly occurs in young, sexually active women, but can occur in women of any age. 

Salpingitis is also called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). But the term “PID” refers to infection and inflammation in any of the reproductive organs. Acute salpingitis is the specific term for infection of the fallopian tubes.

What are the symptoms of acute salpingitis?

Some women with acute salpingitis have symptoms, such as lower or upper abdominal pain, abnormal bleeding, painful urination, nausea and vomiting, painful intercourse,  and fever, while others have no symptoms.

How is acute salpingitis diagnosed? 

No single test diagnoses salpingitis. Instead, your doctor gives you tests to rule out other problems. First, your health care provider does a pelvic exam and asks about your symptoms and health history. Then, you’ll likely have one or more of the following tests:

  • Urine test to check samples of your urine for signs of infection.

  • Blood tests to check samples of  your blood in the lab for problems.

  • Vaginal or cervical culture to take a sample of mucus or cells from your vagina or cervix and check them for infection.

  • Pelvic ultrasound to look at images of your pelvic organs. During ultrasound, painless sound waves create images.

  • Endometrial biopsy to take a sample of cells from the inside of your uterus and check them for infection.

  • Laparoscopic surgery may be needed in some cases to diagnose or treat acute salpingitis.

Treating scute salpingitis

To treat the infection, your doctor will give you antibiotics. If the infection is mild, you will be able to take these at home. Take all of the medicine as directed until it is gone, even if you feel better. In some cases, you may also get an injection of medicine. If the infection is severe, you may need to stay in the hospital. This is so you can get antibiotics through an IV line. In most cases, antibiotics cure the infection. Sometimes surgery is needed to treat the infection.

Follow-up care

With prompt treatment, salpingitis can be cured. Be sure to keep your follow-up appointment with your health care provider to be sure your infection is gone. Sexual partners of women with acute salpingitis may also need to be tested for infection, even if they have no symptoms. Treatment is important to prevent reinfection. If you are having trouble getting pregnant you may have tests to check for any damage to your fallopian tubes from the infections.

When to call your health care provider

Call your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Pelvic pain doesn’t go away or gets worse

  • Painful or frequent urination

  • Vaginal discharge with a bad odor

  • Fever of 100.4° F (38°C) or higher

  • Vomiting that prevents you from taking antibiotics


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