Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a general term for a bacterial infection in the female pelvic organs. Specific types of PID include salpingitis (infection of the fallopian tubes), endometritis (infection of the uterine lining), and cophoritis (infection of the ovaries). Most infections are caused by the same organisms that cause sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and chlamydia. Usually PID bacteria enter the vagina during sex and ascend into the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. Bacteria may also enter the body after an invasive gynecological procedure.
One of the main reasons a women should get a pap smear every year is to get tested for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea which are leading causes of the development of pelvic inflammatory disease. These two STDs are some of the most common STDs contracted by women and they often have no symptoms. However, if left untreated, they can cause PID which then can lead to infertility. Regular testing can prevent this issue. Don't put off getting tested for STDs after every sexual partner and getting a pap smear each year. Also, remember to use a condom every time you have sex.
The improper insertion of an IUD can also lead to pelvic inflammatory disease. However, most women who use IUDs are not at risk. Learn more about how an IUD can lead to PID and about what you can do to prevent this condition if this is your birth control of choice. Also learn more about how other procedures such as abortions can lead to PID. Get all of the facts today.
Prompt treatment of PID is important. Infection of the fallopian tubes may lead to scarring and adhesions (bands of scar tissue) that can obstruct the tubes, causing infertility. Over one in twelve women are left infertile after a first episode of PID, one in five are infertile after a second episode, and over 40% are left sterile after three or more episodes of PID. PID is the leading cause of infertility in women. Other problems include chronic recurrances, chronic pain, premature hysterectomy, and depression. At least 10 percent of all sexually active teens become infected with PID.
PID Symptoms And Risk Factors
Symptoms of PID include:
- persistent cramps
- pain during or after sexual intercourse
- temperature of 102-104 degrees F
- unusual vaginal bleeding or foul smelling discharge
- tenderness in the lower abdomen
- many cases have no symptoms
Risk factors include:
- multiple sex partners
- recent IUD insertion
- sexual activity during adolescence
- use of non-barrier type contraceptives (pill, foam, etc.)
- past history of PID or a sexually transmitted disease
- abortion, childbirth, miscarriage, or other gynecological procedure
If you suspect you may have PID, contact your doctor right away!
Chat with other women about coping with PID and other fertility problems in our forum.