Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) Fact Sheet: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

What is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) ?

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of a woman’s reproductive organs.

What causes PID?

  • Sexually transmitted infections (most commonly chlamydia and gonorrhoea).

  • Other non-sexually transmitted infections could also cause it.

How does it occur?

  • Sexually transmitted bacteria gain entrance into the reproductive system through the vagina, then ascend to the cervix, uterus, tubes, ovaries and the pelvic cavity.

  • These bacterial infections cause inflammation and irritation of the pelvic cavity

pelvic inflammatory disease can cause infertility and ectopic pregnancies

What are the risk factors for having PID?

  • Having unprotected sex (including oral sex)

  • Having multiple sexual partners

  • Having a sexual partner who has multiple sexual partners

  • Untreated sexually transmitted infections

  • Douching

What are the symptoms of PID?

  • Pain in the lower abdomen

  • Fever

  • Vaginal discharge with a bad odour

  • Painful urination

  • Abnormal bleeding from the vagina

How is PID treated?

  • When reported, the doctor may requests some tests be carried out.

  • Treatment usually involves antibiotics (since it's usually caused by bacteria)

  • Painkillers

  • Important to complete medications for the duration given by your doctor, even if symptoms disappear soon after starting treatment

  

Complications of PID

May happen if PID is left untreated:

  • Infertility
  • Ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus)

  • Long lasting pelvic pain

How can PID be prevented?

  • Sexual abstinence

  • Being faithful to your sexual partner

  • Using condoms correctly during all sexual activity

Summary

  • PID is an acronym for pelvic inflammatory disease.

  • Commonly caused by bacterial infections that are sexually transmitted.

  • Can be cured if reported early

  • If not reported, it can cause complications like infertility and ectopic pregnancies.

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