We investigated risk factors and common causes of tubo-ovarian abscess (TOA) in non-sexually active females in order to aid in earlier diagnosis, treatment, and improved outcomes.
This is a retrospective observational case series of all non-sexually active females younger than age 25 years who were diagnosed with TOA. Review of the existing literature was also performed.
Academic tertiary care children’s hospital PARTICIPANTS: Ten patients meeting study inclusion criteria were identified for the study and 33 other patients identified in the literature.
Average age at time of diagnosis was 14 years. Average body mass index was 24 kg/m. Most presented with abdominal pain, often associated with fevers, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Seven of ten patients were treated surgically with pelvic washout (four primarily and three after failing empiric antibiotic therapy). Most frequently, anaerobic gut flora were isolated on culture. All patients received broad-spectrum intravenous antibiotics, and were then discharged on a course of doxycycline and metronidazole or clindamycin. Three patients required additional admissions and multiple rounds of antibiotics due to persistent symptoms. The average length of stay was 3 days for patients treated with antibiotics only and 6 days patients requiring surgical intervention. Six patients had complete resolution of symptoms and improvement on ultrasound within 2-4 weeks. The remainder were lost to follow up.
These cases, in conjunction with previous case reports, emphasize the importance of considering TOA in patients with concerning imaging or exam findings, despite lack of sexual activity. Given the large proportion of cases attributable to anaerobic gut flora, treatment with antibiotics with adequate anaerobic coverage is recommended. Surgical drainage is not always necessary, but is often needed for diagnostic purposes or in patients not clinically improving with conservative measures.

Copyright © 2020 North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.