If you’ve had a C-Section and suspect an infection, don’t panic!
One in ten C-Sections result in an infection so the important thing is to identify if you actually have an infection and what type of infection it is.
Most infections can be eliminated quickly if they are caught in time so identifying what the problem is and taking prompt action is important.
There are a number of infections that can occur after a C-Section.
- Incision infection
- Uterine Infection
- Urinary Tract Infection or UTI
There are basically four warning signs for infection.
- Continued fatigue and energy loss
An incision infection is probably the most common area for infection and is generally obvious as your incision will be extraordinarily painful, possible red and swollen as well. Howerver there are other infections such as internal infections that can crop up as well.
Here’s help with identifying each of these infections…
Identifying C-Section Infections
C-Section Incision Infection
An infection in or around your incision can produce swelling, redness or fluid oozing from the incision. The fluid could be blood if you have reopened your incision in some way but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have an infection.
If your incision does break open follow careful C-Section incision care at home so you don’t end up with an infection.
Signs of an incision infection:
- Incision and surrounding area is red and irritated
- Incision is warm to the touch and very sore
- Incision has a green or white pus oozing out
If you experience any of these symptoms call your doctor immediately. Ignoring an infection hoping it goes away on its own is dangerous. You should seek medical attention right away.
In the meantime gently clean the area by gently applying antibacterial soap over the incision (do not rub) then rinse thoroughly by running warm water over the area until you are sure all the soap is rinsed off. Then pat it ever so gently dry. Make sure the area is very dry. Once it is completely dried, cover the area with a sanitary napkin changing it as needed until you can see your doctor.
Signs of a Uterine Infection
A uterine infection, also know as ‘Endometritis’ occurs in about 10-30% of women following a C-Section.
The signs will be:
- Lower Abdominal pain and a belly that is tender to the touch
- Bloody vaginal discharge that smells bad or has a yellow greenish color
- Your lower abdomen gets very hard or firm
- You have fever of 100.5, chills and flu-like symptoms.
If you have any of these signs, don’t take the ‘wait and see’ approach, call your doctor immediately. Infections left untreated could have dangerous results including infertility, loss of feeling, even death.
Bladder or Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
It’s possible that you may contract a bladder or urinary tract infection (UTI). This sometimes occurs after having a urinary catheter.
Once the catheter is removed you may have some soreness in your urinary tract area.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have an infection, sometimes the area is just irritated after having the catheter removed.
You’ll know you have an infection if you have any or all of the following:
- Persistent burning while urinating that lasts a day or more.
- You feel like urinating often with little urine that comes out.
- There is blood in your urine or your urine is cloudy or smells bad.
- You have fever and chills.
- You have nausea and vomiting.
- Your kidney area or back is very sore.
If you experience any of these things, drink lots of water and call your doctor. If you do have an infection your doctor will prescribe oral antibiotics that will start clearing up the infection within just a few hours.
If you have lots of burning pain when urinating your doctor can prescribe pain relief for that as well.
Septicemia is a serious bacterial infection that spreads to the bloodstream. This is the most dangerous type of infection following a C-section and if detected requires immediate medical attention.
Symptoms of Septicemia:
- Sudden spiking fever
- rapid heart rate
- rapid breathing and chills
If untreated this can lead to septic shock which is identified by low blood pressure, hypothermia, confusion and problems with blood clotting. If you suspect septicemia, contact your doctor immediately.
Infection or not – go with your instincts
It’s important to be able to identify C-Section infections but it’s also important to go with your instincts. Not everyone manifests symptoms the same, so my advice is if you suspect a problem go with your instincts and talk to your doctor.
It may be nothing but waiting too long if there is a problem could lead to worse problems and that’s worth avoiding.
For more the C-Section procedure, risks and recovery The Worry Free C-Section is an excellent resource for advice, personal tips, information and personal support on all aspects of having a C-Section.
Photo courtesy of renjith krishnan and freedigitalphotos.net