What Is Endometritis?

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Endometritis is inflammation or irritation of the lining of the uterus (endometrium). It is different from endometriosis. An infection usually causes the inflammation associated with endometritis. It is the most common infection after the delivery of a baby.

Endometritis is not life-threatening but requires treatment right away. When not treated with antibiotics, endometritis can lead to severe complications, including infertility.

This article will provide an overview of endometritis, including the symptoms, causes, and treatments.

Woman holding infant talking to healthcare provider

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Endometritis Symptoms

Endometritis does not always cause symptoms. When it does, the most common symptoms of endometritis include:

  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Constipation
  • Pain with bowel movements
  • Fever
  • Not feeling well 


Endometritis is caused by an infection of the uterus. Infections that can lead to endometritis include:

The risk of endometritis increases when you undergo a procedure that involves entering the uterus through the cervix. This increases the risk of bacteria or other pathogens (disease-causing organisms) entering the uterine lining and causing endometritis. 

Risk factors of endometritis include:

Vaginal Bacteria

People have a normal mix of bacteria in their vaginas, called the vaginal flora. When the natural mix changes, an infection can occur.


Endometritis must be diagnosed and treated by a healthcare provider. They will start by asking you about your symptoms, including when they started and if they have been worsening.

As part of the evaluation, the healthcare provider will take your vital signs and perform a physical exam, including an abdominal exam and often a pelvic exam.

If the provider conducts diagnostic tests, they may include:

  • Bacterial cultures: A sample may be taken from your cervix to test for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Wet prep: Wet prep involves taking a sample of vaginal discharge and viewing it under a microscope.
  • Blood tests: Your healthcare provider will likely order a blood sample drawn for a white blood cell count (WBC). If elevated, this test suggests an infection or inflammation in the body.


Because endometritis can lead to serious complications, quick diagnosis and treatment are essential. Endometritis is treated with antibiotics.

If endometritis is diagnosed after the delivery of a baby, especially after a cesarean section, a common treatment regime includes Cleocin T (clindamycin) and aminoglycoside. 

This type of treatment is usually given intravenously in the hospital. However, for less severe infections, you can take oral antibiotics. When taking an antibiotic, it is important to finish the entire prescription and attend all follow-up appointments. 

If your case of endometritis is caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, it’s important to alert all sexual partners so that they can get tested. 


The prognosis for endometritis is very good when it is treated with antibiotics. Antibiotic therapy usually cures this infection.

If left untreated, however, endometritis can cause the following complications:

Septicemia is a serious infection in the bloodstream and can lead to septic shock. Septic shock is a life-threatening emergency. 

When to Call a Healthcare Provider

Call a healthcare provider right away if you develop symptoms of endometritis after:

  • Childbirth
  • Miscarriage
  • D&C
  • IUD placement
  • Surgery 


You can't always prevent endometritis, but it is possible to lower your risk. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are possible causes of endometritis. To reduce your risk of contracting an STI, practice safer sex with condoms and regular testing.

If you are having an invasive procedure involving the uterus, ask your healthcare provider if you will need antibiotic therapy before the procedure.


Endometritis is the inflammation or irritation of the uterus and is usually caused by an infection. Infections that may lead to endometritis include chlamydia, gonorrhea, and common vaginal bacteria that get into the uterus. The risk of endometritis increases anytime you undergo a procedure that accesses the uterus through the cervix.

Symptoms of endometritis may include abdominal swelling and pain, vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge, and fever. Endometritis may lead to serious complications if not treated with antibiotics. Antibiotic therapy usually cures endometritis.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does endometritis feel like?

    Endometritis is an infection of the lining of the uterus. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, abdominal swelling, vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge, constipation, fever, or simply not feeling well. 

  • How is endometritis treated?

    Endometritis is curable when treated with antibiotics. If diagnosed after a cesarean section, the treatment regimen usually includes Cleocin T (clindamycin) and aminoglycoside.

  • Is endometritis the same as endometriosis?

    No, endometritis is different from endometriosis. Endometritis is the inflammation or irritation in the lining of the uterus caused by an infection. Endometriosis is a chronic condition that occurs when cells from the lining of the uterus grow into other areas of the body.

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. MedlinePlus. Endometritis.

  3. Mackeen AD, Packard RE, Ota E, Speer L. Antibiotic regimens for postpartum endometritis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015;2015(2):CD001067. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001067.pub3

  4. Park HJ, Kim YS, Yoon TK, Lee WS. Chronic endometritis and infertility. Clin Exp Reprod Med. 2016;43(4):185-192. doi:10.5653/cerm.2016.43.4.185

By Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH
Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH, is a health writer with over a decade of experience working as a registered nurse. She has practiced in a variety of settings including pediatrics, oncology, chronic pain, and public health.