Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a bacterial infection of the female reproductive organs. The bacteria found in PID is the same bacteria that is found in gonorrhea and chlamydia. PID spreads from the vagina to the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes and can lead to infertility or complications during pregnancy.

Pelvic inflammatory disease is almost always accompanied by a sexually transmitted disease which can develop after having unprotected sex, especially with more than one partner. Bacteria can sometimes enter the vagina from the insertion of an IUD, childbirth, miscarriage or abortion. Women under the age of 25 are most often affected with PID.

Women with pelvic inflammatory disease may experience mild to severe symptoms or none at all. Many do not know they have this condition due to the lack of symptoms. Common symptoms of PID can include:

  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Fever
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Pain during sex
  • Pain while urinating
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Fatigue

If a patient is experiencing these symptoms, tests may be performed to rule out other conditions before diagnosing pelvic inflammatory disease. Most cases of PID can be treated with antibiotics. More severe cases may require hospitalization or even surgery. Pelvic inflammatory disease can often be prevented by practicing safe sex. Abstinence is the only sure way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, but using condoms, in a mutually monogamous relationship, can help reduce risks as well.

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