What Is Pelvic Inflammatory
inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the reproductive organs in women.
The pelvis is in the lower abdomen and includes the fallopian tubes, the
ovaries, the cervix, and the uterus. According to the U.S. Department of Health and
this condition is common and affects about 1 million women each year in the
different types of bacteria can cause PID, including the same bacteria that
cause the sexually transmitted infections (STIs) gonorrhea and chlamydia. What
commonly occurs is that bacteria first enter the vagina and cause an infection.
As time passes, this infection can move into the pelvic organs.
become extremely dangerous, even life-threatening, if the infection spreads to
your blood. If you suspect that you may have an infection, see your doctor as
soon as possible.
Risk Factors for Pelvic
Your risk of
pelvic inflammatory disease increases if you have gonorrhea or chlamydia.
However, you can develop PID without ever having an STI. Other factors that can
cause pelvic inflammatory disease include:
sex and being under the age of 25
sex with more than one person
sex without a condom
an intrauterine device (IUD) to prevent a pregnancy
history of pelvic inflammatory disease
Symptoms of Pelvic
with pelvic inflammatory disease don’t have symptoms. For the women who do have
symptoms, these can include:
in the lower abdomen (the most common symptom)
in the upper abdomen
or foul-smelling vaginal discharge
inflammatory disease can cause mild or moderate pain. However, some women have
severe pain and symptoms, such as:
pain in the abdomen
high fever (greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)
If you have
severe symptoms, call your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room. The
infection may have spread to your bloodstream or other parts of your body. Once
again, this can be a life-threatening condition.
Tests for Pelvic
may be able to diagnose PID after hearing your symptoms. In most cases, your
doctor will run tests to confirm the diagnosis. Tests include:
- pelvic exam to check your pelvic organs
- cervical culture to check your cervix for infections
- urine test to check your urine for signs of blood,
cancer, and other diseases
collecting samples, your doctor sends these samples to a laboratory.
doctor determines that you have pelvic inflammatory disease, they may run more
tests and check your pelvic area for damage. PID can cause scarring on your
fallopian tubes and permanent damage to your reproductive organs. Additional
- pelvic ultrasound: imaging test that uses sound waves to
create pictures of your internal organs
- endometrial biopsy: outpatient procedure where a doctor removes
and examines a small sample from the lining of your uterus
- laparoscopy: outpatient procedure where a doctor inserts
a flexible instrument through an incision in your abdomen and takes pictures of
your pelvic organs
Treatment for Pelvic
will likely have you take antibiotics to treat PID. Because your doctor may not
know the type of bacteria that caused your infection, they may give you two
different types of antibiotics to treat a variety of bacteria.
Within a few
days of starting treatment, your symptoms may improve or go away. However, you
should finish your medication, even if you are feeling better. Stopping your
medication early may cause the infection to return.
If you are
sick, pregnant, can’t swallow pills, or have an abscess (pocket of pus caused
by the infection) in your pelvis, your doctor may send you to the hospital for
inflammatory disease may require surgery. This is rare and only necessary if an
abscess in your pelvis ruptures or your doctor suspects that an abscess will
rupture. It can also be necessary if the infection does not respond to
that cause PID can spread through sexual contact. If you are sexually active,
your partner should also get treated for PID. Men may be silent carriers of
bacteria that cause pelvic inflammatory disease. Your infection can recur if
your partner doesn’t receive treatment. You may be asked to abstain from sexual
intercourse until the infection has been resolved.
Ways to Prevent Pelvic
lower your risk of PID by:
tested for sexually transmitted infections
from front to back after using the bathroom to stop bacteria from entering your
Long-Term Complications of
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
doctor’s appointment if you think that you have PID. Other conditions, such as
a urinary tract infection, can feel like pelvic inflammatory disease. However,
your doctor can test for PID and rule out other conditions.
If you don’t
treat your PID, your symptoms can worsen and lead to problems, such as:
- infertility: inability to conceive a child
- ectopic pregnancy: pregnancy that occurs outside the womb
- chronic pelvic pain: pain in the lower abdomen caused by
scarring of the fallopian tubes and other pelvic organs
infection can also spread to other parts of your body. If it spreads to your
blood, it can become life-threatening.
Long-Term Outlook for
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
inflammatory disease is a very treatable condition and most women make a full
recovery. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 to 15 percent of women
with PID will have difficulty getting pregnant. Moreover, the Berkeley County Health Department notes that about 9 percent of
women will have an ectopic pregnancy, and 18 percent of women will have chronic
pelvic pain as a result of PID.