Do you think you may have a C-Section infection?
It’s not uncommon, in fact one in ten C-Sections result in an infection.
First of all if you suspect you have an infection, don’t’ panic!
Most infections can be eliminated quickly if they are caught in time. That means your job is to try to determine if you have an infection and then take prompt action.
There are a number of areas that can become infected after having a C-Section. Your incision is probably one of the most common areas for infection, but there are other infections such as internal infections that can crop up too.
We’ll cover them all here and help you identify whether or not you truly have an infection and what you can do, or whether you’re simply experiencing something that’s part of the healing process.
Identifying C-Section Infections
C-Section Incision Infection
An infection on 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 so you don’t end up with an infection.
If the incision and surrounding area is red, warm to the touch and very sore or has a green or white pus oozing out you most likely have an infection. This is time to call your doctor, you may need an antibiotic to clear the infection.
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 an Internal C-Section 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 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
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:
- Burning while urinating.
- 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 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.
Septicemia is identified by a sudden spiking fever as well as 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.
For more the C-Section procedure, risks and recovery, The Worry Free C-Section is an excellent resource for advice, personal tips information on all aspects of having a C-Section.
Photo courtesy of renjith krishnan and freedigitalphotos.net