PID or pelvic inflammatory disease refers to an infection of the reproductive organs in females.
This is an extremely common infection affecting nearly 1 million women in the USA alone
annually. Unfortunately, out of these 1 million women, around one hundred thousand end up
among teenage girls and almost 90% of these cases are a result of untreated sexually transmitted
diseases or STDs like.
Normally, the mouth of the uterus or the cervix acts like a barricade to prevent the entry of
bacteria from the vagina into the uterus and ovaries. However, STDs often infect the cervix in
addition to the vagina. This results in a weakened cervix that is unable to prevent the transfer of
microorganisms into the uterus and beyond. The outcome is a PID infection due to the passage of
toxic microorganisms from the vagina and cervix into the upper genital tract. Abortions and other
pelvic procedures and labor are some other common causes of pelvic inflammatory diseases.
Risk Factors of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Factors that increase a woman’s risk of PIDs
- Previous episode of pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Sexually active teenage girls are at a higher risk of pelvic inflammatory disease as compared to older women.
- Multiple sexual partners and indulging in unprotected sex
Simtoms of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
PID does not always cause the same signs and symptoms, but is likely to affect different women
differently. One or more of the following symptoms is usually an indication of a possible pelvic
- Pain in the lower abdomen, sometimes restricted to the right side.
- Abdominal tenderness.
- Yellowish green vaginal discharges with or without a foul odor.
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Occasionally nausea and vomiting may accompany the rest of the symptoms too.
What Tests Help Confirm a PID
- A complete history of general health and sexual practices
- Per vaginal examination to look for cervical and fallopian tube tenderness and abnormal
- Cervical swab to check the discharges for Chlamydia or gonorrhea.
- Complete blood count to look for an increased WBC count indicating an infection.
- Abdominal and pelvic ultrasound.
Mild to moderate pelvic inflammatory disease infections are treated with oral antibiotics.
However, more severe infections are likely to require hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics and
More importantly, the sexual partner also requires a course of antibiotic therapy to
prevent retransmission of the infection during subsequent sexual intercourse. Extreme cases of
PID with abscesses may require surgical intervention, sometimes even hysterectomy. However,
PID is a 100% preventable disease. Implementing the following simple steps is likely to go a long
way in preventing pelvic inflammatory disease infections.
- Avoid multiple sexual partners.
- Use barrier contraceptives like condoms and diaphragms during sexual intercourse.
- Avoiding IUD insertion in women with multiple sexual partners.
- Get any genital infection and STDs treated promptly.
- Regular gynecology check-ups and screenings.