What is Fitz Hugh Curtis Syndrome?
Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome is an extremely rare condition found mostly in females which is characterized by inflammation of the peritoneum which is a membrane that lines the stomach and tissues which surround the liver.
The diaphragm may also be affected as a result of Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome. The primary presenting features of Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome are severe pain in the right upper quadrant of the abdominal area along with symptoms of fever, chills, a general sense of feeling unwell.
Some researchers believe that Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome is a complication of pelvic inflammatory disorder in females. Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria which are known to cause chlamydia and gonorrhea are believed to be the root cause of development of Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome.
What are the Causes of Fitz Hugh Curtis Syndrome?
As stated, the main cause for Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome is infection caused by bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis. These bacteria are known to cause diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea which are common sexually transmitted diseases.
Studies suggest that Chlamydia trachomatis is more associated with Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome than Neisseria gonorrhoeae but both are responsible for the development of this condition.
The exact process by which the infection is caused is not yet fully understood but studies suggest that it may occur due to the infection in the liver and the surrounding tissues by these bacteria which may travel through the bloodstream to the liver. A deficient autoimmune system is also believed to be one of the reasons according to some studies for the development of Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome.
What are the Symptoms of Fitz Hugh Curtis Syndrome?
The primary presenting features of Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome is the presence of acute right upper quadrant abdominal pain which may spread to the areas of the shoulder and the armpit on the right side. This pain is often worsened by any sort of movement. The affected area may also be extremely tender to light touch.
Additionally, the affected individual may also experience fever, chills, malaise, persistent headaches, nausea and vomiting as a result of Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome. Some females may also experience symptoms similar to pelvic inflammatory disease like vaginal discharge and lower abdominal pain as a result of Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome.
How is Fitz Hugh Curtis Syndrome Diagnosed?
To confirm a diagnosis of Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome, other conditions which have similar symptoms may have to be ruled out first. Once all the conditions have been ruled out then the physician may conduct a battery of tests which will include radiological studies of the abdominal area including x-rays, MRI and CT scans of he abdomen and pelvis.
Additionally, an exploratory laparotomy may also be done to visualize the liver to see if any area surrounding it is inflamed which may point towards a diagnosis of Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome. Laboratory studies will also be performed which will show presence of the offending bacteria and confirm the diagnosis of Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome.
How is Fitz Hugh Curtis Syndrome Treated?
Antibiotics are the frontline treatment for Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome. Some of the antibiotics which are used to treat Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome are tetracycline, doxycycline, and metronidazole.
Pain killers may be prescribed to control the pain caused due to Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome. In case the patient finds no relief of symptoms with pain killers and antibiotics, then a surgical procedure called as laparotomy be performed. This surgery tends to destroy the adhesions found in the region surrounding the liver and the abdominal wall thus treating symptoms of Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome.