Condition of the Fallopian Tube: Medical Terminology Challenge

Which of the following terms relates to an accumulation of pus in a fallopian tube?

  1. Pyosalpinx
  2. Polycystic ovary syndrome
  3. Endometriosis
  4. Vaginitis


A. Pyosalpinx

Pyosalpinx (pye-oh-Sal-pinks) is a condition in which the fallopian tube fills up and swells with pus, according to healthline.com. The fallopian tube is part of the female reproductive system that joins the ovaries to the uterus. Eggs move through the fallopian tube from the ovaries and to the uterus.

py/o means pus; -salpinx means fallopian tube 

Pyosalpinx is a complication of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is an infection of a female’s reproductive organs, and pyosalpinx occurs in approximately 16 percent of PID cases.

Other types of infections that can cause pyosalpinx are gonorrhea and tuberculosis.

B, C, and D are incorrect.

As per “Medical Terminology for Health Professions, 8th edition” (Ann Ehrlich):

B. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) (pol-ee-SIS-tick) is a condition caused by a hormonal imbalance. Women with PCOS produce more than the normal amounts of male hormones, and this causes them to miss menstrual periods. The ovaries become enlarged due to the number of cysts formed by abnormal follicles.

poly- means many, cyst means cyst, and -ic means pertaining to.

C. Endometriosis (en-doh-mee-tree-OH-sis) is a condition in which endometrial tissue breaks free of the uterus and sticks to other structures in the pelvic cavity. If let untreated, endometriosis can lead to infertility.

(endo- means within, metri means utuers, and -osis means abnormal condition 

D. Vaginitis (vaj-ih-NIGH-tis) is an inflammation of the lining of the vagina. Common causes of vaginal inflammation are bacterial vaginosis, vaginal candidiasis, and trichomoniasis.

vagin means vagina, and -itis means inflammation

Additional Information


Symptoms of pyosalpinx include:

  • pain in the lower belly that is constant or comes and goes
  • painful lump in the lower belly
  • pain that occurs prior to your periods
  • fever
  • pain during intercourse

Causes include:

  • Untreated PID, which is caused by sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Other kinds of infection, such as tuberculosis

An infection in the body results in the immune system sending out white blood cells to fight it. These cells build up and get trapped in the fallopian tube and are known as pus, causing pyosalpinx.

Diagnosis is made with the following tests:

  • Pelvic ultrasound. Sound waves are used to create pictures of the fallopian tubes and other organs in the pelvis.
  • Pelvic MRI. Strong magnets and radio waves are used to create pictures of the pelvic organs.
  • Laparoscopy. Used to confirm the diagnosis, the surgeon makes a cut near the belly button and introduces gas into the abdomen to get a clear look at the fallopian tubes. A small tissue sample may be removed, called a biopsy.

Treatment involves antibiotics to treat PID. If pyosalpinx is chronic and there are symptoms, the severity of the condition determines the type of surgery recommended.

Options include:

  • Laparoscopy. This procedure is performed to remove the pus without causing any damage to the fallopian tubes or ovaries.
  • Bilateral salpingectomy. This surgical procedure removes both fallopian tubes.
  • Oophorectomy. This surgical procedure removes one or both ovaries and may be performed along with a salpingectomy.
  • Hysterectomy. This surgical procedure removes part or all of your uterus, and may even include the removal of the cervix if an infection still exists.

The removal of the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or uterus will affect a person’s ability to get pregnant. However, a laparoscopy procedure may prevent infertility from happening.


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  1. Interesting! I tell you, I simply loved medical terminology, it was the must fun part of my, unfortunately, only one semester of Medical Coding and Billing college class; while pursuing an ASS in Administrative Medical Office Technology a while back.

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