What is Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome?
Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome (FHCS)
was first talked about by two medical practioners Thomas Fitz-Hugh and Arthur Hale Curtis. It is a relatively rare condition and is mostly seen in women. It could emerge as a complication caused by pelvic infection and consequent inflammation. It is a condition which is caused when bacteria from the vagina percolates in to the tissues surrounding the liver and causes inflammation.
It occurs in 15-30% of ladies with pelvic inflammation. However, it is not unlikely that it may occur in women without pelvic inflammation or even in men.
What causes Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome?
In women, vaginal infections like gonorrhea or an attack by Chlamydia bacteria can cause thinning of the mucus lining in the cervix. The bacteria gets past the mucus lining and enters the uterus and oviducts and causes infection and inflammation. This inflammation could spread into the tissues surrounding the liver. The thin connective tissue encapsulating the liver, namely, the Glisson’s capsule could have scar tissues develop in them.
Symptoms of FHCS
The symptoms of this condition arise because of abnormal tissue connections developing between the connective tissue on the exterior of the liver and the abdomen. These are called adhesions. They could exist without any symptoms or may cause the following symptoms:
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Chills, fever and headache because of the infection.
- Acute pain in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen which may radiate into the shoulder in the right side.
- The pain may be felt with sneezing, coughing and movement.
How is the condition diagnosed?
- Normally Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is a starting point in diagnosing the disease. However, without pelvic infection it is very difficult to diagnose it.
- In women, investigative procedures like cultures conducted on the samples extracted from the cervix will help determine the bacteria causing the syndrome.
- Blood tests will reveal a high White Blood Cell Count (WBC) and a high erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) because of the infection.
- Abdominal ultrasound and CT Scan will help rule out other abdominal diseases with similar symptoms.
- The most trustworthy way of diagnosing the condition is to conduct a laparoscopy and insert a camera to look for adhesions in the tissue surrounding the liver. It will reveal adhesions which resembles violent strings, if FHCS is present.
Treatment of Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome
- The treatment involves dealing with the underlying infection causing the condition. It involves treating with antibiotics and pain killers.
- Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are sexually transmitted infections. So it is important to avoid unsafe sexual practices.