What Is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)?

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) results from an infection within the reproductive system. The reproductive system is comprised of the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and cervix. Bacteria can spread from the vaginal canal or opening to other organs causing PID symptoms. Symptoms range from mild to severe and can affect a woman’s fertility.

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What are the symptoms of PID?

One of the main symptoms of PID is lower abdominal pain. This is due to the infection targeting the reproductive area which is in the lower abdomen and pelvis. Other symptoms include pain during urination, vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor, fever, nausea/vomiting, abnormal vaginal bleeding between periods, pain or bleeding during intercourse. Patients with any of these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

What causes PID?

Frequently, PID develops after a sexually transmitted infection. Women under the age of 25 and patients with multiple sex partners are at higher risk of developing PID. Other risk factors include douching, installing an intrauterine device (IUD), and untreated sexually transmitted diseases (STD).

How is PID diagnosed?

The first step to a diagnosis is a pelvic examination performed by a doctor. Doctors will physically check the reproductive organs for tenderness and excess fluid. Doctors will also check the patient’s temperature for signs of a fever. The exam may also include blood tests, imaging like an ultrasound, and a thorough breakdown of the patient’s sexual and medical history.

How does PID lead to infertility?

One of the ways PID causes infertility is by creating scar tissue within the fallopian tubes. The scar tissue blocks fertilized eggs from developing within the uterus. This is called an ectopic pregnancy. PID also causes damage to other reproductive organs which results in various fertility issues. A recent study indicates that one tenth of the women diagnosed with PID have infertility.

Is there a cure for PID?

Doctors prescribe antibiotics to treat PID. The antibiotics are delivered in pill form or through IVs. Depending on the situation, doctors can prescribe more than one antibiotic at a time. Treatments may last for up to two weeks, but patients may start feeling relief after a few days. Patients will also need to schedule a follow-up appointment so doctors can check progress.

Dealing with PID

Patients experiencing any unusual symptoms that are like PID symptoms should seek medical attention. Please reach out to a healthcare provider to learn more about PID and related treatment options.

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