Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease, also known as PID, affects around 1 million women in the United States every year. Your female reproductive organs become infected when bacteria from your vagina, often from a sexually transmitted disease, spreads to your upper genital tract. If left untreated, PID can lead to ectopic pregnancies or infertility. Symptoms may include painful periods or urination, a dull pain in your lower abdomen, yellow or green odorous vaginal discharges, fever, chills, or vomiting. PID can be treated with antibiotics. However, when an abscess occurs, treatment may require surgery to prevent widespread infection.

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  • 1 Answer
    AHealthwise answered

    Antibiotics are the main treatment for pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). And it's important to treat PID right away, even if you have only one or two symptoms. This is because waiting several days to treat you could raise your risks of fallopian tube damage and infertility. 1

    You may be given medicine even before lab results have come back, based on your medical history and a physical exam.

    Most cases of PID are cured with antibiotics. But sometimes surgery is needed to drain an abscess or cut scar tissue.

    Your doctor will recommend hospitalization if you are pregnant, are very ill, are vomiting, may need surgery for a tubo-ovarian abscess or ectopic pregnancy, or aren't able to treat yourself at home.

    If you have an IUD and you get PID, you may not need to have the IUD removed, depending on how severe the infection is. 1

    Treatment for your sex partner(s)

    If your PID was caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI), anyone with whom you have had sex in the last 60 days should be checked and treated.

    Having sex too soon after treatment could cause your infection to come back, so it's important to wait. The amount of time you must wait depends on what type of treatment you have. Talk to your doctor to be sure.

    Follow-up treatment

    Follow-up visits to your doctor are important for making sure that treatment is working and to prevent complications, such as chronic pelvic pain and infertility.

    Your doctor will want to check you 2 to 3 days after you've started treatment to see if you are improving or if you need a different antibiotic.

    After you've had PID, you will need to have any further pelvic symptoms checked promptly. Your doctor will want to examine you for signs of another infection, possible pelvic organ damage (adhesions), and other possible causes of your symptoms.

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  • 1 Answer
    AHealthwise answered

    Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is diagnosed by the combination of your medical history, your symptoms, a physical exam and lab test results.

    Medical history

    Your doctor may ask you a number of questions, such as what your symptoms are, what method of birth control you use and whether you or your partner engage in high-risk sexual behaviors.

    Physical exam

    Your exam for PID will include a pelvic exam.

    You will also be tested for gonorrhea, chlamydia and bacterial vaginosis.

    Lab tests
    • A pregnancy test is done to rule out the possibility of a tubal (ectopic) pregnancy.
    • Blood tests are used to look for signs of inflammation or infection. Tests include:
      • Complete blood count.
      • Sedimentation rate.
      • C-reactive protein.
    • A blood or urine culture is used to look for infection.
    • Imaging tests
      • Pelvic or transvaginal ultrasound. It can show internal organs on a computer screen to see if there are any other causes of pain.
      • Laparoscopy. The doctor inserts a lighted viewing instrument into the belly to look for signs of infection and scar tissue.
      • MRI or CT scan. These tests are used in rare cases if symptoms aren't improving with treatment or an ultrasound has shown a possible growth or abscess that needs to be further evaluated.
      Early detection

      Yearly chlamydia testing for young, sexually active women is thought to reduce the number of cases of PID. This screening is recommended by experts.

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  • 1 Answer
    AHealthwise answered

    Surgery isn't usually done to treat pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) unless it is needed to:

    • Drain or remove a pocket of pus, such as a tubo-ovarian abscess.
    • Cut scar tissue that is causing pain. This hasn't been shown to relieve pain when the scarring is severe.

    Surgery--usually laparoscopy--is sometimes used when a diagnosis is still unclear after other tests are done or when antibiotic treatment is not working.

    Surgery choices

    Procedures that may be used to diagnose and treat the complications of PID include:

    • Laparoscopy. The surgeon inserts a lighted viewing instrument through a very small cut (incision). He or she can look for signs of ectopic pregnancy or infection and scar tissue and can make repairs if needed.
    • Laparotomy. The surgeon makes a small cut to look inside the belly and make repairs if needed.
    • Drainage of an abscess using a needle and syringe. The doctor usually uses ultrasound to clearly see where the needle is going. This makes an incision unnecessary.

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  • 1 Answer
    AHealthwise answered

    Pelvic inflammatory disease and several other conditions with similar symptoms require prompt treatment.

    Call your doctor right away if you have belly pain and any of the following:

    • A positive home pregnancy test
    • Fever of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher
    • Pain or difficulty urinating

    Call your doctor soon if you:

    • Have a dull pain, unusual cramping or a feeling of pressure in the lower belly.
    • Have pain during sex, especially in the belly.
    • Have abnormal vaginal bleeding, bleeding between menstrual periods or bleeding after sex or douching.
    • Have a vaginal discharge that is yellow or green or smells bad.
    • Need to urinate often or have pain, burning or itching with urination for longer than 24 hours.
    • Think you may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection, or you have a sex partner who has symptoms, such as discharge, genital sores or pain in the genital area.

    Who to see

    The following health professionals can diagnose and treat pelvic inflammatory disease:

    • Physician assistant (PA)
    • Nurse practitioner
    • Family medicine physician
    • Internist
    • Gynecologist
    • Emergency medicine specialist

    Complications are usually treated by a gynecologist.

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  • 2 Answers

    Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) can be painful in some cases. Some of the first symptoms of PID may include pain in the lower abdomen or pain during menstruation or intercourse. As the infection progresses, the pelvic or abdominal pain may become more severe. However, in many cases PID doesn't cause any noticeable symptoms.

    View All 2 Answers
  • 1 Answer

    If pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is treated early, a cure may be possible. In most cases, a dose of antibiotics for chlamydia or gonorrhea is used to treat the infection. However, if the partner of the infected person doesn't get treated, they can re-infect that person. Also, if pelvic inflammatory disease isn't diagnosed or treated till the infection has spread, treatment can't reverse the damage already done. Complications of untreated PID may include scarring of the fallopian tubes, which can lead to infertility. Because of this, it's important to get tested regularly for STDS that may lead to PID, and see a doctor right away if you notice any unusual symptoms.

  • 1 Answer

    Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) doesn't affect men because it's an infection of the fallopian tubes and uterus. It develops when bacteria move from the vagina up into the upper reproductive organs. Many times, these bacteria are sexually transmitted, and STDs like gonorrhea and chlamydia may lead to PID. Obviously, it's possible for men to have those STDs, and they can spread the responsible bacteria to a woman. However, it's not possible for those STDs to develop into PID in men like they can in women.

  • 1 Answer

    After you've been treated for pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), there are certain follow-up steps you should take. Make sure you avoid sexual contact until you've completed your treatment. Also, it's important to tell any sex partners you've had within the last 60 days that you're being treated, so they can also get treatment. Remember that you can be re-infected with bacteria that lead to PID even after treatment, so practice safe sex by using condoms and get tested regularly for sexually transmitted diseases.

  • 1 Answer

    Although testing for pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is usually done only if a woman has noticeable symptoms, it's a good idea to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases on a regular basis. STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea are common causes of PID, so if you're at risk, you should be tested regularly. People at high risk may include sexually active women under the age of 25, and women who have unprotected sex with multiple partners. If STDs are caught early, the chance that they will develop into PID is decreased. Talk to your doctor about getting tested.

  • 1 Answer

    Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) may affect your sex life for several reasons. Sometimes PID may cause sex to become painful. Because PID is often caused by a sexually transmitted disease, it's important to avoid sex until you've completed treatment for the infection. Treatment involves seeing a doctor and finishing any and all medications that are prescribed to you. Any sex partners who've had sexual contact with an infected person should also avoid sexual contact and should be treated for pelvic inflammatory disease so partners avoid re-infecting one another.