What is Fournier Disease?
Fournier Disease is an acute infection affecting the penis, scrotum and the perineal area. The primary symptom of Fournier Disease is severe pain and redness in the scrotum. The infection rapidly progresses to gangrene if not treated on time.
The primary cause for the development of Fournier Disease is infection in the perirectal or periurethral area which can get infected by trauma, a surgical procedure, or frequent urinary tract infections.
This disease is mostly found in elderly males but in some cases children have also been affected with Fournier Disease. The removal of the necrotic tissue surgically along with administration of intravenous antibiotics is the front line treatment for Fournier Disease.
What are the Causes of Fournier Disease?
The main cause for the development of Fournier Disease is the entry of bacteria, fungi, or virus through openings in the body. These openings may be in the rectal area, genital area, or anywhere along the skin surface.
Anorectal abscess is the primary cause of Fournier Disease, although surgical procedures in the perineal area and frequent urinary tract infections have also been found to be responsible for the development of Fournier Disease.
In some cases, there are no identifiable causes for the development of this condition and are termed as idiopathic Fournier Disease. An individual with a compromised immune system is more likely to develop Fournier Disease than the normal population.
What are the Symptoms of Fournier Disease?
The symptoms of Fournier Disease include:
- Severe pain and swelling in the genital and rectal areas
- Development of gangrene in this area
- There is palpable crepitus when palpating this area.
Some of the risk factors which predispose and individual to the development of Fournier Disease are:
How is Fournier Disease Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of Fournier Disease is basically made by the symptoms exhibited by the patient and also the physical examination of the genital and rectal area which will clearly show formation of gangrene. An ultrasound may also be done to differentiate between Fournier Disease and other inflammatory processes which can cause same symptoms. A CT scan is also a very helpful tool in diagnosing Fournier Disease.
How is Fournier Disease Treated?
It is extremely important to diagnose and treat Fournier Disease as early as possible. The front line treatment of Fournier Disease is the surgical removal of the gangrene along with administration of broad spectrum antibiotics.
The antibiotics can only be started after complete debridement and removal of all the necrotic tissue resulting out of Fournier Disease. If the infection spreads to the blood then it may complicate the matters and the patient may be at risk for developing blood clots.
In such circumstances it is imperative that the patient be given medications to prevent any development of a blood clot as a result of infection caused by Fournier Disease.