What is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)?
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of a woman’s pelvic organs. The pelvic organs include the uterus (womb), fallopian tubes, ovaries and cervix.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) means the infection or inflammation of upper genital tract i.e. the ovary, the fallopian tubes and the uterus. It is generally seen in young sexually active females.
A woman can get PID when bacteria moves up through her vagina and infects her pelvic organs. Many different types of bacteria can cause PID. But, most of the time PID are caused by bacteria that cause 2 common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) — gonorrhea and chlamydia. It can take from a few days to a few months for an infection to travel up from the vagina to the pelvic organs.
You can get pelvic inflammatory disease without having an STI. Normal bacteria found in the vagina and on the cervix can sometimes cause pelvic inflammatory disease.
Many women don’t know they have PID because they don’t have any symptoms. For women who have them, symptoms can range from mild to severe. The most common symptom of PID is pain in your lower abdomen (stomach area). Other symptoms include:
- Irregular periods (monthly bleeding)
- Painful urination
- Vaginal discharge that may smell foul
- Painful Sex
- Pain in the upper right abdomen
The more times you have pelvic inflammatory disease, the more likely it is that you won’t be able to get pregnant. When you have pelvic inflammatory disease, bacteria infect the tubes or cause inflammation of the tubes. This turns normal tissue into scar tissue. Scar tissue can block your tubes and make it harder to get pregnant. Even having just a little scar tissue can keep you from getting pregnant without infertility treatment.
PID can be cured with antibiotics. Most of the time, at least two antibiotics are used that work against a wide range of bacteria. Your doctor will work with you to find the best treatment for you. You must take all your medicine, even if your symptoms go away. This helps to make sure your infection is fully cured. You should see your doctor again 2 to 3 days after starting treatment to make sure the antibiotics are working.
Without treatment, PID can lead to severe problems like infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain.
Any damage done to your pelvic organs before you start treatment likely cannot be undone. Still, don’t put off getting treatment. If you do, you may not be able to have children. If you think you may have PID, see a doctor right away.