A TEEN was left fighting for her life with septic shock after having sex in a rare case reported by doctors.
The 17-year-old from Japan was sick with glandular fever – an infection that is common among youngsters – at the time she had sex.
The young woman picked up a sexually transmitted infection during sex, which became severe extremely quickly.
It resulted in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which then led to sepsis and saw her in hospital for days being pumped with several drugs and having surgery.
Doctors explained that people who have glandular fever may have a weaker immune system at the time of illness, making them more susceptible to other infections.
They warned that people most suspecitble to glandular fever, which runs rife across university campuses, should not have sex while recovering.
For this unfortunate teen, it led to a chain of events that threatened her life.
Commenting on the case, Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of Patientaccess.com, told the Sun: “Glandular fever certainly doesn’t lead directly to sexually transmitted infections, pelvic inflammatory disease or sepsis.
“However, there is some research suggesting that while you’re recovering from glandular fever, your immune system may not work as efficiently.
“Other conditions like blood cancer, and some treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis etc also make your immune system less effective. That means you’re at higher risk of severe illness if you’re exposed to another infection, because your immune system can’t fight it off in the same way.
“If glandular fever does suppress your immune system, the risk of another infection you’re exposed to spreading out of control in your body would be higher.
“In theory, this might be why someone with glandular fever had a higher risk of getting sepsis as a result of a sexually transmitted disease.”
Writing in the Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, Dr Saki Tamura and colleagues described how the 17-year-old, who has not been named, first came to hospital after having a fever and fatigue for seven days.
She was diagnosed with glandular fever, medically called Infectious mononucleosis but commonly known as the “kissing disease”.
Glandular fever itself is not considered severe and people usually recover from their symptoms of fever, sore throat and fatigue within three weeks.
But recent research has suggested while with glandular fever, patients have a suppressed immune system.
Two weeks after her first visit, the girl returned to hospital with a high fever, vomiting and pain in her lower stomach.
She’d had sex four days prior to the abdominal pain.
Tests revealed she had a high temperature and low blood pressure – warning signs of septic shock, a type of sepsis.
If glandular fever does suppress your immune system, the risk of another infection you’re exposed to spreading out of control in your body would be higher.
Sepsis is when the body overreacts when it senses an infection. It is extremely serious and needs immediate treatment.
When the body’s blood pressure drops to a dangerously low level, it can prevent the internal organs from getting enough blood and cause them to stop functioning properly.
It can lead to heart failure, stroke and death.
As doctors did more tests, they discovered the woman had an ovarian abscess and a pus discharge coming from her vagina.
She was diagnosed with PID, which develops when a nasty bug contracted during sex moves up through the vagina to the reproductive organs.
PID is a common condition, mostly affecting those aged 15 to 24 years old. In some cases it can become severe, especially if left untreated.
In this case, it is suspected the teenager’s suppressed immunity meant that the PID became serious very quickly, leading to a 5cm tubo-ovarian abscess.
Three hours after admission to hospital, the girl was not responding to medicine and she had the ovarian cyst drained.
Doctors described how they also had to contend with kidney injury and fluid on the lungs, which saw the girl put onto a ventilator.
Once they found out more about what bug had ravaged the girl’s body after four days of lab tests, medics were able to target her treatment better and she started stabilising quickly.
She was discharged from intensive care on the fifth day, and then from hospital on the 20th day, and eventually recovered.
Although the case appears to be extremely rare and unusual – the first described in literature – the team fear they discovered a dangerous phenomenon.
“Sexual activity during recovery from IM might trigger PID and provoke septic shock caused by rare bacteria in an adolescent,” they wrote in their medical paper.
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On top of the sepsis that could have been fatal, the experts said such a severe PID infection could “have adverse long-term reproductive outcomes”, including infertility.
They wrote: “It might be necessary to advise adolescents with IM to refrain from sexual activity during their recovery to avoid additional risk of severe infection.
“Cumulative evidence is needed to confirm our finding of a potential link between sexual activity during recovery from IM and severe PID.”
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