Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Reproductive Tract Infection

About PID

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a general term for a bacterial infection of the female reproductive organs, which can include infection of the uterine lining, the fallopian tubes, and/or ovaries.
Each year in the United States, it is estimated that more than 1 million women experience an episode of acute PID.

Causes of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Most infections are caused by the same organisms that cause sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and chlamydia. These organisms can more easily infect a woman after an invasive procedure, like an abortion, IUD insertion, or childbirth.

Risk factors for PID include having multiple sex partners, sexual activity during adolescence, a recent IUD insertion, past history of PID, a sexually transmitted disease, recent abortion or other gynecological procedure, and possibly douching.

Symptoms of PID

Symptoms of PID include cramps, pain during sexual intercourse, painful urination, fever, unusual vaginal bleeding, foul smelling discharge, abdominal tenderness, and chills. However, many cases have no noticeable symptoms at all.

Treatment for PID

PID can be cured antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. However, antibiotic treatment does not reverse any damage that has already occurred to the reproductive organs.

Consequences of PID

Pelvic inflammatory disease is the primary cause of infertility in women. Other consequences include repeated bouts of PID, chronic pain, ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside of the uterus), premature hysterectomy (requiring abdominal surgery), clinical depression, and even death.

Prevention of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

The more sex partners a woman has, the greater her risk of developing PID, especailly if she is under age 25. Waiting until marriage for sex will reduce the risk of PID by making STD infection less likely.

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