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Other Names:
PID, Oophoritis, Salpingitis, Salpingo-Oophoritis, Salpingo-eritonitis
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

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Definition

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a broad term used to describe inflammation or infection of the lining of female pelvic organs including uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries.

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Causes

  • Bacteria responsible for sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, mycoplasma, staphylococcus and streptococcus through sexual transmission.

  • Entry of bacteria during gynecological procedures such as insertion of IUD (intrauterine device used for contraception), childbirth, spontaneous abortion (miscarriage), therapeutic or elective abortion and endometrial biopsy.

  • Unprotected sexual activity especially during adolescence

  • Multiple sexual partners

  • Past history of pelvic inflammatory disease or any STD (sexually transmitted disease)

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Symptoms

  • Low back pain
  • Fever
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Lower abdominal and pelvic pain that is worse than usual menstrual discomfort.
  • Bad-smelling vaginal discharge.
  • Pelvic pain that is worse during intercourse.
  • Abnormal or unexpected vaginal bleeding.
  • Nausea or vomiting.

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Implications

Scarring from pelvic infection is a common cause of chronic pelvic pain and infertility. It may also increase a woman's risk of having an ectopic pregnancy, a condition in which the fertilized egg attaches to an area outside of the womb (uterus). Symptoms like genital sores or rash, malodorous vaginal discharge, painful urination, or intermenstrual bleeding are all early indicators of pelvic inflammatory disease should be taken care of promptly. Pelvic inflammatory disease can progress to the inflammation of the lining membrane od the abdomen (peritonitis). This condition needs immediate hospitalization and antibiotic treatment. The bacteria causing infection of the pelvic organs can invade the bloodstream and caused a generalized infection of the blood called septicemia or bacterimia. This is a life threatening condition and can be fatal if not treated immediately.

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What You Can Do

  • Hospitalization with intravenous antibiotics

  • This can be followed by a course of oral antibiotics.

  • Surgery may be considered for complicated, persistent cases that do not respond to adequate antibiotic treatment.

  • Concurrent treatment of sexual partner(s) is important

  • Use condoms whenever having sex throughout the course of treatment and after.

  • Preventive measures include:
    • Safer sex behaviors
    • Following your doctor's recommendations following gynecological procedures
    • Getting prompt treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.
    • Sexual partners should also get adequate treatment

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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease