Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
is an infection of a woman’s reproductive tract. It can affect the uterus, fallopian
tubes, and the ovaries. PID can cause scar tissue that grows between internal organs
causes ongoing pelvic pain. It can also lead to ectopic pregnancy. This is when the
fertilized egg grows outside the uterus. If left untreated, PID can lead to chronic
infection. Also you may not be able to get pregnant.
Bacteria cause PID. Often they are
the same type of bacteria that causes sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Women of any age can get PID. But
those at greater risk of PID from sexually transmitted bacteria include:
- Women under 25 who are sexually
- Women of childbearing age
- Women who use intrauterine devices
(IUDs). The risk is only during the first 3 weeks of use.
- Women who douche often
These are the most common symptoms
- Pain and tenderness spread throughout the lower part of the belly
- Pelvic pain
- Increased foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Fever and chills
- Vomiting and nausea
- Pain during urination
- Belly pain (upper right area)
- Pain during sex
The symptoms of PID may look like
other health problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Your healthcare provider will ask
about your health history and do a physical and pelvic exam. Other tests may
- Exam of vagina and cervix samples under a microscope
- Blood tests
Pap test. For this test, cells are taken from the cervix and checked under a microscope. It’s
used to find cancer, infection, or inflammation.
- Ultrasound. This test uses high-frequency sound waves to make an image of the organs.
Laparoscopy. This is a minor
procedure done using a thin tube (laparoscope) with a lens and a light. It is put
into a cut (incision) in the belly (abdominal) wall to look at the reproductive
Culdocentesis. For this test, the
healthcare provider puts a needle into the pelvic cavity through the vaginal wall
get a sample of pus.
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health. It
will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Antibiotic pills are used to treat
PID, especially if it’s caused by a STD. For severe infection, you may need to stay
the hospital for IV (intravenous) antibiotics. Sometimes, you may need surgery.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is
an infection of a woman’s reproductive tract. It can affect the uterus, fallopian
tubes, and the ovaries.
- If PID is left untreated, you can
develop chronic infection and infertility.
- It is caused by bacteria, often the same type of bacteria that causes STDs.
- Sexually active women under age 25, and those of childbearing age are at the greatest
risk of getting PID from an STD.
- PID can cause pelvic pain, belly tenderness, vaginal discharge, fever, chills, and
pain during urination and sex.
- Treatment includes antibiotics, especially if you have a STD.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
- Know the reason for your visit and what you want to happen.
- Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
- Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells
- At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments,
or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you.
- Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed, and how it will help you. Also
know what the side effects are.
- Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways.
- Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
- Know what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
- If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that
- Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.