What is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection that affects the female reproductive organs, specifically the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. It is usually caused by sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, but other bacteria can also be responsible. PID can occur when bacteria enter the vagina and travel upward into the reproductive organs.

Symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease can vary from mild to severe and may include:

  • Pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Painful urination
  • Painful intercourse
  • Fever and general malaise

It’s important to seek medical attention if you suspect you have PID or if you have symptoms of an infection. If left untreated, PID can lead to serious complications, including infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus).

The diagnosis of PID typically involves a combination of medical history assessment, physical examination, laboratory tests (such as a pelvic exam, cervical swab, and blood tests), and possibly imaging studies such as an ultrasound.

Treatment for PID usually involves a course of antibiotics to eliminate the infection. In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary, especially if the infection is severe or if complications are present. It is also important for sexual partners to be treated to prevent reinfection.

Prevention of PID involves practicing safe sex by using condoms consistently and correctly, getting regular screenings for STIs, and seeking prompt treatment if you suspect an infection.