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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    AHealthyWomen answered
    It's a common misconception that the use of an intrauterine device (IUD) increases the risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). The risk of developing PID is minimally increased during the first 20 days after insertion of the device, but after that time, the risk returns to baseline. This risk can be reduced by testing women for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) before IUD insertion and treating appropriately. IUDs are an extremely safe and effective means of preventing pregnancy, with less than 1% unintended pregnancies per year.
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    AShelley Giebel, MD, OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology), answered on behalf of MDLIVE

    Often pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is painful.  Patients will complain of pain with intercourse.  A sharp stabbing pain in the lower abdomen can be a sign of PID.  Fever and chills and sometimes vaginal discharge can happen. 

    Seek medical care immediately because PID can cause chronic medical conditions, such as infertility.  The most common infections that cause PID, gonorrhea and chlamydia, can also be transmitted sexually to your partner, so treatment is essential.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Pelvic inflammatory disease itself is not necessarily contagious, but many of the bacteria that cause it are contagious. PID develops when bacteria move from the vagina into the upper reproductive organs. These bacteria may be spread through sexual contact - PID is commonly caused by the bacteria responsible for gonorrhea and chlamydia. In some cases, though, the infection may be caused by bacteria that are normally found in the vagina. These bacteria aren't contagious. In general, reduce your risk of getting an STD that can lead to PID by using a condom and limiting your number of sex partners.

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    Having pelvic inflammatory disease once doesn't protect you from getting infected again. In fact, you're more likely to develop PID if you've already had it before. Even if you've been treated for the infection, you may become re-infected, especially if your sex partner does not receive treatment at the same time. To reduce your risk of getting PID again, avoid having sex until you and your partner have completed treatment, and practice safe sex by using a condom and limiting your number of sex partners.

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    If it's caught and treated, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) may not be too serious. However, because pelvic inflammatory disease often doesn't cause any noticeable symptoms, it may not be diagnosed and treated until it's already caused serious problems. When pelvic inflammatory disease is left untreated, it can lead to complications such as chronic pelvic pain, an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, and infertility. PID isn't often life-threatening, but these complications are still serious and permanent. Because of these risks, it's important to talk to your doctor as soon as you notice any symptoms.

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