What Is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the reproductive organs in women. The pelvis is in the lower abdomen and includes the fallopian tubes, the ovaries, the cervix, and the uterus.
Several different types of bacteria can cause PID, including the same bacteria that cause the sexually transmitted infections (STIs) gonorrhea and chlamydia. What commonly occurs is that bacteria first enter the vagina and cause an infection. As time passes, this infection can move into the pelvic organs.
PID can become extremely dangerous, even life-threatening, if the infection spreads to your blood. If you suspect that you may have an infection, see your doctor as soon as possible.
Risk Factors for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease:
Your risk of pelvic inflammatory disease increases if you have gonorrhea or chlamydia. However, you can develop PID without ever having an STI.
Other factors that can cause pelvic inflammatory disease include:
Having sex and being under the age of 25
Having sex with more than one person
Having sex without a condom
Using an intrauterine device (IUD) to prevent a pregnancy
Having an history of pelvic inflammatory disease
Symptoms of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease:
Some women with pelvic inflammatory disease don’t have symptoms.
For the women who do have symptoms, these can include:
Pain in the lower abdomen (the most common symptom)
Pain in the upper abdomen
Increased or foul-smelling vaginal discharge
Pelvic inflammatory disease can cause mild or moderate pain.
However, some women have severe pain and symptoms, such as:
Sharp pain in the abdomen
A high fever (greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit).
Ways to Prevent Pelvic Inflammatory Disease:
You can lower your risk of PID by:
Practicing safe sex
Getting tested for sexually transmitted infections
Wiping from front to back after using the bathroom to stop bacteria from entering your vagina
Long time Complications of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease:
Make a doctor’s appointment if you think that you have PID. Other conditions, such as a urinary tract infection, can feel like pelvic inflammatory disease. However, your doctor can test for PID and rule out other conditions.
If you don’t treat your PID, your symptoms can worsen and lead to problems, such as:
Infertility: Inability to conceive a child
Ectopic pregnancy: pregnancy that occurs outside the womb
Chronic pelvic pain: Pain in the lower abdomen caused by scarring of the fallopian tubes and other pelvic organs
The infection can also spread to other parts of your body. If it spreads to your blood, it can become life-threatening.
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