Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is one of the most serious consequencesof some bacterial infections includinggonorrhea
orchlamydia. PID affects nearly 1,000,000women each year. The current number of people infected by PID is unknown.
What are the symptoms of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)?
Women with PID may have only mild pain or no symptoms at all, eventhough serious damage to their internal reproductive organs may beoccurring. Some women with PID may experience the following symptoms:
- Lower abdominal pain
- Vaginal discharge
- Painful intercourse
Can Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) lead to other problems?
PID can cause permanent damage by developing scar tissue on the femaleinternal reproductive organs. The scar tissue can completely blockthe fallopian tubes, which prevents the sperm and egg from meeting and causesinfertility. Approximately 100,000 women a year begin struggling withinfertility as a result of PID.
The scar tissue may partially block or slightly damage the fallopiantube. This can prevent the fertilized egg from leaving the tube creatingan ectopicor tubal pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies can rupture the fallopiantubes causing severe pain, internal bleeding, and even death.
Scarring of the fallopian tubes and ovaries can also lead to pelvicpain that lasts for months or even years.
What causes Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)?
PID is caused by vaginal intercourse with a partner infected withGonorrhea or Chlamydia. The more sexual partners a woman has, thegreater the risk of PID. PID is a common progression from an infectionof either chlamydia, gonorrhea, and in rare cases, bacterial vaginosis.
How is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) diagnosed?
PID is difficult to diagnose because symptoms are often mild andmany cases go undetected. There are no specific tests for PID. Ifyou are sexually active and experiencing lower abdominal pain, thefirst thing your healthcare provider will probably do is to run culturesof your cervix to test for chlamydia and gonorrhea. An ultrasoundor even surgery may be necessary to diagnose PID.
What is the treatment for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)?
The bacteria that causes PID may be treated and cured with antibioticsadministered orally or intravenously. The damage caused by scarringfrom PID may not be reversed. Approximately 25% of women with PIDmust be admitted to the hospital for treatment.
Can Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) be prevented?
There are only two ways to prevent PID. The first is to refrain fromsexual contact of any kind, allowing you to avoid contracting chlamydiaand gonorrhea. The second is to be in a long-term monogamous relationshipsuch as marriage.
The use of condoms does reduce the risk of transmission of chlamydiaand gonorrhea, but it does not prevent it. According to a study presentedat the 2002 National STD Prevention Conference, there is a 50% riskreduction by using condoms.
Compiled using information from the following sources:
Infectious Diseases of the Female Genital Tract Fourth Ed. Sweet, Richard L, et al, Ch. 14.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov