Pelvic Inflammatory Disease – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment


Ladies, do you have frequent lower abdominal cramps? Severe backache?? The period cycle has gone haywire??

You might be having Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).

PID or pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the female reproductive organs. It usually occurs when sexually transmitted bacteria spread from your vagina to your uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries and is frequently misdiagnosed and inadequately treated.

Infection and inflammation may spread to the abdomen, including perihepatic structures (Fitz-Hugh−Curtis syndrome).

The classic high-risk patient is a menstruating woman younger than 25 years who has multiple sex partners, does not use contraception, and lives in an area with a high prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD).

Read: Women’s STD Symtopms

What are the Symptoms of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)?

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) might cause only mild signs and symptoms or none at all.

Signs and symptoms of the pelvic inflammatory disease might include:

  • Pain in your lower abdomen and pelvis
  • Heavy vaginal discharge with an unpleasant vaginal odour
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding, especially during or after intercourse, or between menstrual cycles
  • Pain or bleeding during intercourse
  • Fever, sometimes with chills
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Vomiting

Sometimes the symptoms resemble those of an ovarian cyst, appendicitis, endometriosis, or a urinary tract infection (UTI).

When severe, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) might cause fever, chills, severe lower abdominal or pelvic pain — especially during a pelvic exam — and bowel discomfort.

Foul smelling vaginal discharge, painful urination or bleeding between menstrual cycles can be associated with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) as well.

How to Diagnose Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)?

To learn if you have PID, your Doctor will start by asking about your medical history, including your sexual habits, birth control method, and symptoms.

If you have Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) symptoms, you will need to have a :

  • Pelvic exam. This exam can show if your reproductive organs are tender.
  • A swab sample of fluid from your cervix will be taken and tested for gonorrhoea and chlamydia.
  • Blood tests may be done.

Your Doctor may order other tests or procedures. They can include ultrasonography, endometrial biopsy, and in some cases laparoscopy.

Causes and risk factors of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Many types of bacteria can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), but gonorrhoea or chlamydia infections are the most common. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) can be caused by other untreated infections, such as bacterial vaginosis. These bacteria are usually acquired during unprotected sex. Less commonly, PID can be caused after childbirth, miscarriage or abortion.

A number of factors might increase your risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, including:

  • Being a sexually active woman younger than 25 years old
  • Having multiple sexual partners
  • Being in a sexual relationship with a person who has more than one sex partner
  • Having sex without a condom
  • Vaginal Douching regularly, which upsets the balance of good versus harmful bacteria in the vagina and might mask symptoms
  • Having a history of pelvic inflammatory disease or a sexually transmitted infection

Read: An Overview of Gonorrhoea

How is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) treated?

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) can be treated but the treatment of PID cannot reverse the scarring caused by the infection. The longer the infection goes untreated, the greater the risk for long-term problems, such as infertility.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is treated first with antibiotics which is usually sufficient to get rid of the infection. Two or more antibiotics may be prescribed. They can be given as pills, through a tube inserted in a vein (intravenous line), or by injection. Your health care provider may schedule a follow-up visit 2–3 days after treatment to check your progress. Sometimes the symptoms go away before the infection is cured.

If they do, you still should complete all of the medicine for as long as it is prescribed.

Some women may need to be treated in a hospital. Hospitalization may be recommended for women who

  • do not have a clear diagnosis
  • are pregnant
  • must take antibiotics intravenously
  • are severely ill
  • have nausea and vomiting
  • have a high fever
  • have an abscess in the fallopian tube or ovary

In certain situations, such as when an abscess is found, surgery may be indicated.

Women with PID may have partners who have gonorrhoea or chlamydia, so the partners require treatment as well. A person can have these STIs even if there are no signs of illness.

What are the complications of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)?

A pelvic inflammatory disease that is left untreated might cause scar tissue. You might also develop collections of infected fluid (abscesses) in your fallopian tubes, which could damage your reproductive organs.

Other complications might include:

  • Ectopic pregnancy.PID is a major cause of tubal (ectopic) pregnancy. In an ectopic pregnancy, the scar tissue from PID prevents the fertilized egg from making its way through the fallopian tube to implant in the uterus. Ectopic pregnancies can cause massive, life-threatening bleeding and require emergency medical attention.
  • PID might damage your reproductive organs and cause infertility or the inability to become pregnant. The more times you’ve had PID, the greater your risk of infertility. Delaying treatment for PID also dramatically increases your risk of infertility.
  • Chronic pelvic painPelvic inflammatory disease can cause pelvic pain that might last for months or years. Scarring in your fallopian tubes and other pelvic organs can cause pain during intercourse and ovulation.
  • Tubo-ovarian abscess.PID might cause an abscess (a collection of pus) to form in your uterine tube and ovaries. If left untreated, you could develop a life-threatening infection.

What can you do to prevent Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)?

To reduce your risk of pelvic inflammatory disease:

Practice safe sex.
Use condoms every time you have sex, limit your number of partners, and ask about a potential partner’s sexual history.

Get tested.
If you’re at risk of an STI, such as chlamydia, make an appointment with your doctor for testing. Set up a regular screening schedule with your doctor if needed. Early treatment of an STI gives you the best chance of avoiding PID.

Request that your partner be tested.
If you have a pelvic inflammatory disease or an STI, advise your partner to be tested and, if necessary, treated. This can prevent the spread of STIs and possible recurrence of PID.

Talk to your doctor about contraception.
Many forms of contraception do not protect against the development of PID. Using barrier methods, such as a condom, might help to reduce your risk. Even if you take birth control pills, it’s still important to use a condom every time you have sex to protect against STIs.

Avoid douching.
Douching upsets the balance of bacteria in your vagina.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and its complications, such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain, are preventable by screening asymptomatic patients for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and promptly treating individuals with STIs and PID.

Take Care!

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