The pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)is an inflammation and infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries that compromises the health of these female reproductive organs and is usually caused by a bacterial infection. It is often a complication of some poorly treated sexually transmitted diseases, so it is essential to protect yourself adequately when having sex and regularly have the necessary gynecological exams. Likewise, it is required to treat PID early and with the appropriate medications to avoid possible complications and become pregnant with difficulties or other serious health problems. In this FastlyHealarticle, we explain the symptoms, causes, and treatment of pelvic inflammatory disease and the ideal preventive measures to know all the details about this condition.
Table of Contents
Symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease
In some cases, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) does not cause symptoms, or these are very mild, so the affected woman may not be aware of her condition until she undergoes a gynecological examination. However, in other cases, the infection can be symptomatic and cause a series of symptoms that can vary in severity from one woman to another and depending on the origin of the problem. Here are the most common symptoms of PID:
- Pains in the lower abdomen can be mild at first and gradually increase in intensity and accentuated when making movements or exerting pressure on the stomach.
- Fever: it can be variable, that is to say, stay at 38ºC or increase until reaching 40ºC.
- Abnormal vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor.
- Pain and bleeding during sexual intercourse.
- Vaginal bleeding between menstrual periods.
- Discomfort or burning when urinating.
In addition to the above, other symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, chills, weakness, frequent urination, loss of appetite, menstrual irregularities, and excruciating menstrual cramps or lasting longer than usual may occur.
Causes and risk factors of pelvic inflammatory disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease is caused by a bacterial infection, which usually begins in the vagina and cervix and later spreads to the uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes.
Most of the time, PID is the result of sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, which are contracted by having sex with infected people because during sexual contact, these bacteria enter the female body, spreading to the cervix—and causing infection. In some cases, the disease is caused by more than one microorganism at a time, so they are polymicrobial.
In addition to these sexually transmitted infections that are the most common cause of PID, there are also cases in which the responsible bacteria enter the woman’s body for other reasons or conditions, such as during childbirth, when inserting an intrauterine device. (IUD), during an abortion or miscarriage and an endometrial biopsy.
Some women are more likely to contract PID than others. Below we detail what the risk factors are:
- Be a sexually active woman and be 25 years old or younger.
- Having more than one sexual partner.
- Do not use a condom during sexual intercourse.
- Having an STD and not being treated properly.
- Having suffered from PID before.
- Using douches.
- Recent IUD insertion.
Before the manifestation of any of the symptoms mentioned in the first section, it is essential to go to the gynecologist as soon as possible. There is no specific medical test to diagnose pelvic inflammatory disease. Still, its detection will be made by combining the physical examination of the patient, her medical history, and the results of various medical tests.
The gynecologist can examine the pelvic region and vaginal examination and look for and analyze symptoms such as bleeding from the cervix, vaginal discharge, pain when feeling the cervix, or extreme tenderness in the ovaries, uterus, or fallopian tubes. In addition to this, specific medical tests may be recommended, such as ultrasound scans, blood tests, and cultures of the vagina and cervix.
Treatment of pelvic inflammatory disease
Being a disease caused by a bacterial infection, the treatment of PID consists of the administration of antibiotic drugs. These should be taken carefully following medical indications and respecting both the recommended dose and the duration of treatment, as it should be continued even if the symptoms have disappeared.
In addition to the above, the affected patient must inform her recent sexual partners of the suffering of this infection so that they can perform a test and also initiate the appropriate treatment if necessary. Likewise, sexual intercourse should be suspended until the condition has been completely cured and the doctor indicates it.
In general, most patients with PID can be cured through outpatient treatment, however, if the symptoms are severe, hospitalization may be required, and antibiotics will be administered intravenously. Only in those cases where an abscess of the ovaries or fallopian tubes occurs will a surgical intervention be necessary.
Complications of PID
When the infection is not treated as necessary and is not diagnosed early, it can progress considerably and lead to complications such as:
- Ectopic pregnancy.
- Chronic pelvic pain.
- Tubal obstruction.
How to prevent pelvic inflammatory disease
The only way to prevent pelvic inflammatory disease is to avoid having sex with an infected person. Therefore, it is essential to use a condom in all relationships to reduce the risk of infection and ensure that the other person does not suffer from any sexually transmitted disease.
On the other hand, it is essential to undergo regular gynecological check-ups and get regular venereal disease screenings.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Pelvic inflammatory disease: symptoms, causes, and treatment, we recommend that you enter our category of Female reproductive system.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.