Can women with pelvic inflammatory disease become pregnant?

Yes, most women with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) can become pregnant, but some cannot do so without some intervention by a fertility specialist. PID happens when a woman contracts one or more untreated sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including gonorrhea and Chlamydia, and does not get treatment for the STDs.

These STDs are infections and cause inflammation in a woman's pelvic organs, including the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes and ovaries. Untreated pelvic inflammation can create scar tissue in the pelvic cavity, including inside and around the fallopian tubes. Since the fallopian tubes are where the egg is released and fertilized, scar tissue can block both movement and access to the egg by the sperm, not allowing fertilization to take place and ultimately preventing pregnancy.

Your doctor will help you understand your treatment options; scar tissue can be removed surgically, allowing the body to become pregnant naturally or with only minor interventions. Occasionally the scar tissue is either too widespread or has damaged the fallopian tubes, but this doesn't mean a pregnancy is out of the question, either. In this case in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be a very effective treatment and pregnancy can happen.

It may be possible for women to become pregnant even if they've had pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), but there may be complications. If PID is diagnosed and treated early, women may have no problems becoming pregnant. However, if PID is left untreated, women may have trouble getting pregnant. In those cases, many women don't realize they've had PID until they see a doctor about being unable to become pregnant. About one fifth of women with PID become infertile. If women with PID do become pregnant, there's a much greater chance that there will be complications during pregnancy - the risk for ectopic pregnancy (where the fetus starts growing in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus) is greatly increased by PID.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.