Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease or PID is an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes and/or ovaries caused by migration of bacteria usually acquired from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), particularly gonorrhea and chlamydia. It can lead to infertility,ectopic pregnancy,chronic pelvic pain or other serious consequences. PID is common among sexually active women; an estimated one million American women and teens experience an episode of PID each year. It causes infertility in about 100,000 women annually, as well as a significant percentage of ectopic pregnancies as a result of damage to the lining of the tube.
Besides STDs, other contributing factors may be douching (which can flush bacteria from the vagina up into the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries). There is no evidence that it is caused by IUD.
Symptoms include pelvic pain and abnormal vaginal discharge, which may be accompanied by fever, irregular periods, pain during intercourse or pain during a pelvic exam.
PID is usually diagnosed through a pelvic exam and tests for STDs. Recurrent PID may be diagnosed by laparoscopy. It can be treated with antibiotics, but the damage it has caused is permanent. The best strategy is prevention through using condoms, abstaining from sex or limiting your number of sexual partners, having regular screenings for STDs, and seeking prompt medical attention at the first sign of infection.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Gynecological Problems: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. 2004. www.acog.org/publications/patient_education.pdf/bp077.cfm.
- National Women’s Health Resource Center, Inc. Your Guide to Uterine Health. www.healthywomen.org