Gangrene occurs when body tissue begins to die and decompose, a process known as necrosis. Necrosis can occur because of either a restriction in blood flow, or a bacterial infection. In either case gangrene can quickly develop in to a serious and life threatening medical emergency and therefore needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible.
What Is Fournier Gangrene?
Fournier gangrene is a rare form of gangrene which effects the genitals and surrounding area. Fournier gangrene usually begins in the scrotum, testicles, penis, or perineum. It can stretch across the body however and ultimately affect the stomach, chest, and thighs.
Fournier gangrene is more common in men but can also be found, albeit far less frequently, in women and children. In all cases it is extremely rare, even more so than gangrene itself.
Fournier gangrene is usually the result of another infection in or near the genitals. Urinary tract infections are the most common root cause of Fournier gangrene; bladder infections are the next most likely cause.
In women, most cases of Fournier gangrene follow a hysterectomy and are more likely to occur where conditions are unsanitary. In children, the gangrene is usually caused by an insect bite which becomes infected, from accidental burns, or as the result of circumcision, particularly where the procedure isn’t carried out properly.
The following are common symptoms of Fournier gangrene;
- Swelling or a shooting pain in the genitals or surrounding area.
- An unpleasant and persistent odor emanating from the infected tissue, usually the genitals.
- Very dry skin which sometimes makes a ‘crackling’ sound when manipulated with the hands.
- Persistent dehydration throughout the day.
Anemia, a deficiency of iron in the blood. Anemia can often leave sufferers feeling constantly tired and exhausted and can snowball into more serious health concerns.
If you suspect you have any form of gangrene it is imperative that you see a doctor as soon as possible. The usual treatment for Fournier gangrene mimics that of other gangrenous diseases. Antibiotics are administered intravenously and, surgery is performed to remove any dead or dying tissue.
Some patients require reconstructive surgery following the removal of the dead and dying gangrenous tissue. Reconstructive surgical techniques are now much more advanced than they once were and so patients should not worry about disfigurement, it is more important to remove dangerous tissue.
Depending on how deep the gangrene has spread, the patient’s ability to pass urine and feces may be compromised. If this is the case, a catheter or colostomy bag will be fitted.
Fournier gangrene is thankfully a very rare condition but it is absolutely essential that when it strikes it is dealt with promptly. If you are concerned that you are exhibiting symptoms of Fournier gangrene then drop in to our clinic today to consult with a leading NYC urologist.