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Can Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Prove to be Fatal?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Rakhi Gupta 95% (79 ratings)
FICOG, FICMCH, FIMSA, MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, MBBS
Gynaecologist, Delhi  •  27 years experience
Can Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Prove to be Fatal?

Pelvic Inflammatory disease (PID) is a bacterial infection that affects a woman’s reproductive organs. This disease is not contagious though men can host and transmit the bacteria that triggered the disease through intercourse. Chlamydia (know more about Chlamydia disease) and gonorrhea are the two most common causes of this disease. Apart from being transmitted sexually, this disease can also develop through the insertion of an unsterilized contraception device into the vagina or during a gynecological procedure such as an abortion. In rare cases, normal bacteria from the vagina can also spread into the uterus and fallopian tubes triggering this disease.

PID can be fatal and should not be ignored. Lower abdominal pain is the primary symptom of this disease. This pain can vary from being mild to be seriously debilitating. Other symptoms of this condition are:

  1. Abnormal or foul vaginal discharge.

  2. Painful intercourse that may be accompanied by bleeding.

  3. Irregular periods.

  4. Spotting between periods.

  5. Severe menstrual cramps.

  6. Burning sensation while urinating.

  7. Urge to frequently urinate and an inability to empty the bladder.

  8. Swollen abdomen.

  9. High fever alternating with chills.

  10. Swollen lymph nodes.

  11. Diminished appetite with nausea.

  12. Weakness and depression.

  13. Lowered libido.

PID can often produce a pus-like fluid that scars the reproductive organs. This can result in infertility. This risk is influenced by the duration and severity of the infection along with the number of times it recurs. Women suffering from pelvic inflammatory disease are also at a higher risk of having a tubal pregnancy. This type of pregnancy is fatal for the baby and also threatens the life of the mother.

In cases where the disease is triggered by an STD like gonorrhea or Chlamydia, it can also spread to the liver tissues. This is a complication known as the Fitz Hugh Curtis syndrome and causes a collection of pus in the form of an abscess in the fallopian tubes or ovaries. If this abscess ruptures, the pus would spread into the pelvic cavity causing severe pain, nausea and a fall in blood pressure. If it spreads further into the blood stream, it can be fatal.

Diagnosis of this disease is difficult as its symptoms are usually mild and common to a number of other conditions. However, once diagnosed, it can be easily treated through antibiotic medication. Surgery is required only in cases where there is no response to antibiotics or if an abscess bursts or is at a stage where it may. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a and ask a free question.

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