Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a very serious disease that affects more than a million American women every year. It is a condition that, if left unchecked, could cause serious long-term health problems, even death.

What is PID?

PID is a condition which develops when bacteria goes up the reproductive tract and results in inflammation of the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes.

The most common types of bacteria that can cause PID are those related or associated with gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Though sexual intercourse is the most common way to contract the disease, it is also possible to get it after going through certain procedures such as pregnancy termination or pelvic surgery. Is is also possible to get the disease after pregnancy, though this is very rare.

Who is at risk for PID?

Any woman can get PID but there are certain factors that can increase the risks. Some of them include:

  • Being sexually active
  • Having many sexual partners
  • Unprotected sex
  • Frequent douching (which pushes bacteria up the uterus)
  • Use of IUDs
  • Being under 25 and not having a fully-matured cervix

Symptoms of PID

PID symptoms are not very easy to detect. That is what makes it dangerous. Those who have symptoms reported feeling the following:

  • pain in the lower abdomen
  • unusual vaginal discharge (green or yellow in color)
  • pain during sex
  • burning feeling when urinating
  • irregular menstrual bleeding
  • pain in the upper right abdomen

Complications linked to PID

PID can cause serious health problems if not treated. Some of complications associated with PID include:

Pelvic, fallopian or ovarian abscess – when you contract PID, pus forms in the ovaries, pelvic area, or fallopian tubes. The pus has to be treated, and may even require surgery.

Ectopic pregnancy – PID can cause scar tissue to form in the fallopian tubes that prevents a fertilized egg from going to the uterus, causing the embryo to implant in the tubes.

Chronic pelvic pain – PID causes scarring around the pelvic area which can cause organs to become deformed and adhere to each other, resulting in chronic pelvic pain.

Infertility – about 15% of those infected with PID become infertile. The infection causes scar tissue to form, hindering proper ovulation and even blocking the passage through the fallopian tubes.

Pregnacy and PID

Apart from the serious health threats which can be caused by PID, it can also cause life-threatening problems if you contract it during pregnancy. Some of these include:

  • miscarriage
  • stillbirth
  • low birth weight baby
  • preterm birth

Treating PID

To treat PID, you may be prescribed antibiotics that can combat various types of bacteria. Antibiotics may be oral or injectable.

For more severe symptoms, you may need to check into the hospital where intravenous antibiotics will be given to you. Antibiotics are effective in killing the infection, but they cannot do anything to reverse the scarring. For this, surgery may be required.

 

Preventing PID

Since PID can be contracted through sex, it is important to practice the following to lower your risks of contract the disease:

 

  • use a condom every time you have intercourse
  • limit the number of your sexual partners
  • make sure that your partner/s test regularly for STDs.