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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

What is it?

PID is an infection of the upper female reproductive organs (uterus, fallopian tubes and/or ovaries). Some women do not know they have PID because they have no noticeable symptoms. Other women experience symptoms such as fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, lower abdominal pressure/pain/cramping, and/or unusual bleeding or discharge. PID can be a serious, life threatening illness and can be so severe that women require hospitalization. Left untreated, PID can lead to infertility (difficulty getting pregnant), ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that occurs outside of the uterus) and chronic (long-term) pelvic pain.

How did I get it?

PID develops as a result of having one or more untreated infections in the lower female reproductive tract (vagina and/or cervix). Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, and trichomoniasis can lead to PID. Other bacterial infections have also been found to cause PID. Often women with PID have more than one infection present.

Can I give to to others?

It is possible to pass the underlying infections on to sexual partners, therefore all sexual partners in the two months prior to symptom onset or diagnosis of PID should be seen by a doctor and are often given treatment for chlamydia and gonorrhea.

How is it treated?

PID is treated with specific antibiotics, either in pill form or by IV. The pain associated with PID should improve within two to three days of starting treatment. If not, the woman should return to her doctor.