Pelvic inflammatory disease

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is infection of the reproductive organs of women. This may include infection of:

  • The Uterus
  • The Cervix
  • the fallopian tubes and the ovaries

The infections that can cause PID include:

  • Gonorrhoea
  • Chlamydia
  • Other bacteria

PID can cause severe illness in a woman, requiring treatment in hospital. However, sometimes PID can occur without causing any signs or symptoms. PID is a very serious disease because it can lead to long term problems.

PID is one of the leading causes of infertility in women. Women who have had PID may have difficulty becoming pregnant and if they do become pregnant, there may be problems with the pregnancy like ectopic pregnancy.

Risk factors

The primary risk factor for PID is infection with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) –in particular Chlamydia and gonorrhoea

Prevention

Infection with PID can be prevented by avoiding risky sexual behaviours.

To reduce your risk:

  • Use condoms during sex
  • And limit the number of sexual partners

Symptoms

  • Lower abdominal pain/discomfort
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Painful sex (Dyspareunia)
  • Difficulty falling pregnant
  • Fevers, some women can be very sick

Treatment

PID is treated with antibiotics. Sometimes three different antibiotics are given.

To ensure the infection has been cured:

It is important to take all the tablets – otherwise the infection may not be properly cured

It is best not to have sex until the tablets are finished and you have been tested to check the infection is cured (even if you feel better)

Sexual partners who have the infection should be treated at the same time – otherwise you may get the infection again.

If a woman is very sick with PID, then she may need to be admitted to hospital for treatment.