Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female reproductive organs and mostly starts from vagina spreading to uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries. It is caused by various non-sexual infections and sexually transmitted diseases (chlamydia, gonorrhea etc.).
If the infection becomes successful in spreading to your blood, PID can be extremely hazardous, even life-threatening.
Many patients don’t show any signs, however, the common symptoms in women are:
- Pain in the lower and upper abdomen
- A high fever (>101°F)
- Painful intercourse
- Painful urination
- Irregular bleeding (menstruation)
- bleeding between periods and after intercourse
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
Causes of PID
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) usually starts with an infection that begins in the vagina and spreads to the cervix. It can then move to the fallopian tubes and the ovaries. The cause of infection can be bacterial, fungal, or parasitic, but it is more likely to involve one or more types of bacteria.
Sexually transmitted bacteria are the most common cause of PID. Chlamydia being the most common (80-90% cases have no symptoms), followed by gonorrhea (10% cases have no symptoms).
About 10 – 15 % of women with chlamydia/ gonorrhea go on to developing Pelvic inflammatory disease as a secondary infection.
Risk Factors of PID
Following situations increase your chances of getting a Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Having a sexually transmitted disease which goes untreated
- Having more than one sexual partner
- Having a sex partner who has more than one sex partners at a time
- Having a PID before
- having sexually active routine and are age 25 or younger
Your doctor will ask you about the symptoms and carry out a pelvic exam to check for tenderness. He will also recommend you some other tests for confirmation of the nature of the infection, including;
- Test you for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
- test for A swab may be taken from the cervix, and maybe from the urethra, the tube from the bladder through which urine flows
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- Ultrasound for checking the inflammation in the fallopian tubes
- Sometimes, a laparoscope is used to view the area and taking tissue sample if necessary
Antibiotics for PID
Antibiotics for PID include:
A course usually lasts 14 days. It is vital to follow the instructions of the physician and stick to the prescribed medications. Since, PID often involves more than one type of bacteria; the doctor can prescribe you two antibiotics together.
A pregnant woman with PID or the one showing severe symptoms might need to remain in the hospital. In the hospital, intravenous medication could be given for treating the infection.
If there is scarring on the fallopian tubes or if an abscess needs draining, a surgery can be performed (very rarely). This may be keyhole surgery, or it may involve removal of one or both fallopian tubes (less preferred because it removes of all the chances of future natural pregnancies)
If the partner has a sexually transmitted infection, there is a serious risk of recurrence. So he must undergo a treatment for STI too.
The patient should refrain from intercourse until the treatment is completed.
If you’re being treated for PID, make sure you take proper care at home to speed up the healing. For this purpose, you should
- Take your medicine exactly the way it is prescribed. Don’t skip any dose, or leave the procedure uncompleted.
- Take care of yourself!
- Rest in bed. In case of a serious infection, you might need to stay in bed for several days
- Drink lots of water, and eat healthy foods.
- Don’t douche or use tampons.
- If you’re in pain, you can take aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or naproxen (Aleve). A heating pad may also help.
- Don’t have sex until you have completely recovered from the infection. When you do have sex, using condomsevery time will help prevent infections that could cause you to get PID again.
- Keep your follow-up appointments to make sure the treatment worked even if you don’t have any symptoms.
Despite the fact that PID is curable, the treatment might not be able to undo damages like scarring or infertility caused by chronic pelvic inflammatory disease. That’s why it’s so important to get treated as soon as possible.
Pelvic inflammatory disease is a serious condition which can be prevented by:
- Having a regular screening especially if you have multiple sex partners
- Ensuring sexual partners are tested for infections and STIs
- Avoiding douching, because this increases the risk
- not resuming sex until the cervix closes properly
- practicing safe sex and using a condom or cervical cap
not having sex too soon after childbirth or a termination/ loss of pregnancy