All About Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Written and reviewed by
MBBS, MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology
26 years experience
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a common infection in the female reproductive organs like the ovaries, the uterus and the fallopian tubes and also the inside of the pelvis. If left untreated for a long time, PID can lead to severe problems like pregnancy complications, infertility and cancer.
- Cause: Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) like chlamydia and gonorrhea produce vaginal bacteria which travel to the interior organs and cause PID. Having unprotected sexual contact with someone who has an STD is the most common cause of PID. Moreover, medical processes like abortion, miscarriage, childbirth, insertion of contraceptive devices can also lead to bacterial infection. Having sex with a number of people, or having sex before the age of 20, or having had an STD in the past, also increase the chances of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.
- Symptoms: The disease may show only minor symptoms or it may not show any symptom at all. When it does, the common symptoms are pelvic pain, discomfort while urinating or having intercourse, difficulties with menstruation and unusual fluid discharge from the vagina.
- Associated symptoms: High fever, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, exhaustion, shivering and fainting.
- Diagnosis: A pelvic examination is conducted to check for abnormal bleeding from the cervix (the opening of the uterus), fluid discharge or severe pain in the uterus, fallopian tubes or in the ovaries. Swabs taken from the cervix and the vagina are tested for STDs or other possible bacterial infections that may cause PID. An ultrasound or a Computerized Tomography (CT) scan is conducted to make sure that the symptoms are not being caused by other disorders like appendicitis or other kinds of infection in the reproductive organs. A pregnancy test is also done to take the necessary precautions to protect the fetus from the adverse effects of the infection.
- Treatment: The treatment procedures of PID vary depending on the type of bacteria that caused the infection in the specific case. Antibiotic medication is used to treat the condition. In case of severe complications, the patient has to be hospitalized.
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