Pelvic or Abdominal Abscess Symptoms and Its Treatment

The abdomen houses many vital organs especially those concerning the digestive system. Located within the abdominal cavity are organs such as the liver, stomach, pancreas, gallbladder, spleen, colon, kidneys, urinary bladder, and so much more. Any infection involving any of these organs can lead to pain or discomfort in the abdomen.

Infections involving any organ within the abdominal cavity can lead to rupture and subsequent infection or abscess formation. Any surgery done within any part of the abdominal or pelvic cavity can also lead to a complication of abscess formation.

Pelvic Abscess

  • Refers to a collection of pus in the pelvic region or lower abdomen.
  • This pus collection can be a result of an infection, burst ulcer, appendicitis, or even as a result of surgery.
  • In male patients, the abscess usually develops between the bladder and the patient’s rectum.
  • In female patients, the abscess can usually be located between the posterior rectum, and the uterus.
  • An abscess does not develop spontaneously.
    An infection precedes the abscess formation 2-3 weeks prior.
  • If left untreated, an abscess can develop into multiple abscesses which further complicate the patient’s condition.
  • Definitive diagnosis is important for prompt treatment and improved prognosis. Medical diagnoses that need to be ruled out include pelvic inflammatory disease, appendicitis, diverticulitis, generalized peritonitis, and septic abortion.
  • Imaging studies may be ordered to help arrive at the correct diagnosis of abscess formation. These include complete blood cell count, sigmoidoscopy, barium enema, ultrasound, and CT/MRI scan.

Pelvic Abscess Symptoms

Depending on the severity of the abscess, symptoms can present locally or systemically.

Systemic Symptoms Include:

  • Fever
  • Body malaise
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Anorexia

Localized Symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal mucous discharges
  • Urinary frequency
  • Dysuria
  • Tender pelvic peritoneum upon pelvic examination.
  • Bulging anterior rectal wall upon rectal examination.
  • Partial obstruction affecting the small intestines.

Pelvic Abscess Treatment

When an abscess of the pelvis is diagnosed, immediate hospitalization and treatment should be sought.

  • Drainage of the abscess. This is done through various procedures including:
    • Laparotomy
    • Laparoscopy
    • Ultrasound-guided aspiration and drainage
    • Suprapubic drainage
    • CT or sonographic guided percutaneous abscess drainage.
  • Aggressive antibiotic therapy to treat peritonitis or to prevent it from occurring. Usually involves the use of antibiotics such as:
    • Cephalosporin
    • Gentamicin
    • Metronidazole
    • Clindamycin
  • Abscess of the pelvis that does not show any infection does not usually require surgery.
  • An abscess can be drained rectally, suprapubically, percutaneously, or through open or laparoscopic surgery.
  • Drainage should always be done aseptically to prevent the complication of secondary infections.

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