Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) – Causes, Symptoms, Prevention

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is an infection of the uterus (womb), Fallopian tubes, ovaries, and surrounding structures of a woman.

The fallopian tubes and tissues in and near the uterus and ovaries can be damaged and it can lead to serious consequences including infertility, ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy in the fallopian tube or elsewhere outside of the womb), abscess formation, and chronic pelvic pain.

Causes

When a woman has more sex partners it leads to a greater her risk of developing PID. Also, a woman whose partner has more than one sex partner is at greater risk of developing PID, because of the potential for more exposure to infectious agents.

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms of PID vary from mild to severe.

  • When PID is caused by Chalamydial Infection, a woman may be more likely to experience only mild symptoms even when serious damage is being done to her reproductive organs.
  • Chlamydia can also cause fallopian tube infection without any symptoms
  • Fever (100.4 F or higher)
  • Unusual vaginal discharge that may smell foul
  • Painful sex
  • Painful urination
  • Irregular menstrual bleeding (monthly bleeding)
  • Pain in the upper right abdomen

Preventions & Recommendations

PID is difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are often slight and mild. In many cases PID is undetected because the woman or her health care provider fails to recognize the implications of mild or nonspecific symptoms. Because there are no precise tests for PID, a diagnosis is usually based on clinical findings.

  • Preventing PID by Preventing (Sexually Transmitted Decease (STD) s or by getting early treatment.  Any genital symptoms such as an unusual sore, discharge with odor, burning during urination, or bleeding between menstrual cycles could mean an STD infection. If a woman has any of these symptoms, she should stop having sex and consult a health care provider immediately.
  • Stopping sexual activity until all sex partners have been examined and, if necessary, treated.
  • Using latex male condoms consistently and correctly.
  • Conducting an appropriate sexual risk assessment by a health care provider and indicating more frequent screening for some women.