Fournier’s gangrene is a quick, progressing infection that results to the destruction of tissues in the genitals and adjacent areas. It is considered as a medical emergency that can be deadly if not promptly treated.
What are the indications?
If an individual has Fournier’s gangrene, the affected tissue dies and decomposes. The initial sign is abrupt pain. The infection later progresses quickly, and the skin ends up with a reddened, purplish color or blue-gray areas.
Once gangrene sets in, the decomposing tissue produces a strong, rotting scent. The indications of an advanced infection include:
- High fever
- Swelling in the affected site
- Rapid heart rate
Among men, the infection can damage the scrotum which leaves the testes exposed. If not promptly treated, the infection can spread into the bloodstream and result to organ failure and death.
What is the cause?
Fournier’s gangrene is due to various forms of bacteria. The bacteria can impair the blood vessels and releases toxins and enzymes that cause the breakdown of the tissues.
The infection can spread throughout the connective tissues amidst the skin and underlying muscles.
It might start at a break in the skin from an injury or surgery which enables bacteria to infect the body. The infection generally arises in the site amidst the genitals and rectum and spreads outwards beneath the skin. It might also spread outside the genital region into the abdominal wall or buttocks.
Management of Fournier’s gangrene
Generally, the doctor will provide several antibiotics to manage the underlying bacterial infection. Surgery is necessary to remove dead or dying tissues.
Furthermore, several surgical procedures are necessary to eliminate the dead tissue and stop the infection. Those who undergo treatment with antibiotics and did not undergo debridement rarely survive.
In case diabetes, alcohol abuse or other health conditions are contributing factors, they require treatment.