October 28, 2009

Causes, Symptoms & Treatment For Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) In Women

Posted in Category : Women's Health

Pelvic inflammatory disease or PID is a general term for different infections of the female reproductive system. PID may involve an inflammation of the cervix and the lining of the uterus, the scarring of one or both fallopian tubes or the infection of the ovaries or other organs in the pelvis. The main causes for PID are sexually transmitted diseases such as Chlamydia or gonorrhea. In some cases, other bacteria within the reproductive organs may also cause PID. Pelvic inflammatory disease is the most common cause of infertility. Other complications of PID include pelvic pain and ectopic or tubal pregnancies. PID can be treated successfully with prompt diagnosis and medical attention. However, if left untreated, PID is a potentially life-threatening condition and can even prove fatal.


Common symptoms of PID include:

  • Fever (may come and go)
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain in the lower abdomen and back
  • Pelvic area tender to the touch
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge – foul smell or change in texture and color
  • Bleeding after intercourse
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Regular spotting or bleeding in between periods
  • Painful menstrual cramps
  • No menstrual periods or irregular periods
  • Frequent and painful urination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

There are also cases where there may be no symptoms at all. This is known as a silent PID and often results in ectopic pregnancies or infertility. Symptoms of PID can be mild and persistent or sudden and severe. One of the first symptoms noticed is cramping of the lower abdomen that is not associated with a menstrual cycle. Following this, other symptoms such as low back pain, pelvic pain, vaginal discharge, fever, and painful intercourse may become evident. Symptoms tend to become more severe towards the end of a menstrual period and the days just after a period.

If you do suffer from any of the above symptoms, it is important to consult with your doctor at the earliest. To check if you have PID, your doctor will conduct a pelvic examination as well as require lab tests to test for an infection. These tests include blood tests, culture of the vagina and cervix, pelvic ultrasound, serum HCG pregnancy test and CT scan of the abdomen.


The most common cause for PID is a bacterial infection. Bacteria move through the vagina and cervix and into the uterus and fallopian tubes. Such bacterial infections usually spread through sexual contact (STIs). Bacteria that cause STIs such as gonorrhea (Neisseria gonorrhoeae) and Chlamydia (Chlamydia trachomatis) are generally responsible for more than half the number of PID cases. Other causes of bacterial infections include surgical procedures involved with the insertion of an IUD, childbirth, miscarriage, abortion and endometrial biopsies.

You are also more susceptible to PID if you:

  • Have multiple sexual partners
  • Have a sexual partner diagnosed with an STD
  • Have unprotected sex
  • Have a past history of STDs
  • Have a past history of PID
  • Have recently inserted an IUD
  • Have been sexually active during your adolescence
  • Are younger than 25 and are sexually active
  • Douche regularly


Mild to moderate cases of PID are usually treated with a course of antibiotics to get rid of the bacterial infection. Severe cases may require hospitalization and antibiotics administered intravenously. Depending on the type of bacterial infection, medication will be recommended. If the cause of the PID is a sexually transmitted infection, it is imperative that you and your partner get treated. The use of condoms during intercourse until the treatment is over is recommended as well. For cases with too many complications or those that do not respond to any antibiotics, surgery may be necessary. Even after recovery, it is important that you check in with your doctor at regular intervals to ensure that the infection has not returned. Regular testing for STDs is also recommended if you are sexually active.


  1. http://www.umm.edu/ency/article/000888trt.htm#ixzz23POEkHCh
  2. http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/handouts/pelvic_inflammatory_disease.html