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PELVIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASE

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female reproductive organs. PID is initiated by infection that ascends from the vagina and cervix (entrance of the uterus) into the upper genital tract. PID is a one of the causes of morbidity among women of reproductive age both as a cause of abdominal pain and as a common cause of infertility.

Causes

Sexually transmitted infections

The common cause of PID is from a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The bacteria are passed on during sex. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are commonly found causes of PID. Sometimes the bacteria can be in the entrance of the uterus (cervix) for some time without causing symptoms. When they travel into the uterus, symptoms of PID manifest in weeks or months after having sex with an infected person.

Some cases of PID are not caused by STI. The vagina normally contains different bacteria that are usually safe and are not passed on by sexual contact. However, these bacteria sometimes cause PID. This is a risk after having a baby, or after a procedure such as insertion of an intrauterine contraceptive device.

Douching is generally not healthy for the vagina, and can cause irritation and infections. Douching may also lead to PID, because it pushes bacteria deeper into the body. So don’t douche!

 

Symptoms

PID symptoms may include:

  • longer, heavier or more painful periods
  • pain in the lower belly (pelvic region)
  • Tiredness
  • fever or chills
  • bad-smelling
  • foul smelling vaginal discharge
  • pain during sex

Diagnosis

Usually, PID can diagnosed through:

  • Medical history; general health, sexual activity and symptoms.
  • Pelvic examination
  • Vaginal culture.
  • Blood tests.
  • Urine test can be done to rule out a urinary tract infection, (a cause of pelvic pain).
  • Ultrasound

Treatment

  • Prompt treatment with antibiotic to get rid of the infection that causes pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Analgesics for the pain

Complications

If PID is diagnosed and treated early, complication might not develop. Possible complications include:

  • Infertility; PID can cause scarring or damage to the Fallopian tubes.
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Persistent pain , includes pain during sex.
  • Miscarriage (in pregnant women with untreated PID)
  • A collection of pus sometimes develops uterus if the infection is severe.

Prevention

  • practice safe sex
  • Get prompt treatment for STIs..
  • Use of condom during sex also reduces the risk of contracting PID.
  • Get regular STI screening tests; If you are a sexually active woman age 24 or younger, get screened each year for chlamydia and gonorrhea.

 

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if:

You have symptoms of PID.

You think you have been exposed to an STI.

Treatment for a current STI without improvement.

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