Uterine infections, which causes inflammation of the uterus lining, can affect women of any age, but occur most often in women who have had a Cesarean-section delivery or have experienced prolonged labor. It is suspected that an increased amount of vaginal exams during prolonged labor contribute to the development of the condition. Womenshealth.gov reports that women under the age of 25 who have had multiple sex partners are also likely to develop some form uterus infection.
A uterine infection is also referred to as endometritis when it is associated with pregnancy. The lining of the uterus becomes inflamed during endometritis and usually presents itself after miscarriage or childbirth. The U.S. National Library of Medicine explains that a uterine infection can also be caused by diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea as well as an overgrowth of vaginal bacteria. Uterine infections that are not related to pregnancy are referred to as pelvic inflammatory diseases (PIDs).
Patients that are diagnosed with endometritis often begin to develop signs of the condition within 24 hours of childbirth or miscarriage. Lower abdominal pain and fever are usually the first indications that an infection is present. Uterine pain is also a sign, according to Merck, along with a foul-smelling lochia (bloody discharge that occurs after pregnancy), loss of appetite, lethargy, headache and chills.
Pelvic inflammatory disease does not always show signs that a uterine infection is present. According to the Mayo Clinic, when symptoms do begin to manifest, lower abdominal pain and a foul-smelling discharge usually develops. Pain in the lower back, nausea vomiting, abnormal bleeding and fever may also develop as symptoms of uterine infection.
Septic shock is a major complication that runs hand in hand with uterine infection. Milton S. Hershey Medical Center reports that uterine infections are often treated with antibiotics. A uterine infection that is left untreated can cause severe complications that can affect the organs in the body and lead to extremely low blood pressure—which can be life-threatening. Septic shock requires emergency treatment and is usually accompanied by paleness, abnormally high or low body temperature, shortness of breath and lethargy. Lightheadedness, confusion and chills may also manifest during an episode of septic shock.
For some women, the signs of a uterine infection are not always clear, and can even mimic other illnesses. Painful intercourse can occur as a result of a uterine infection. Some women fail to seek treatment because they are uncomfortable with the subject or simply embarrassed. It is important to note that a visit to the physician to discuss such a matter is confidential. Any discussions pertaining to the medical situation will be kept strictly between the doctor and the patient. If you think you are experiencing symptoms of uterine infection call your doctor immediately.