Q. What is pelvic inflammatory (“in-flam-ma-tor-ee”) disease (PID)?
A. PID is an infection of a woman’s uterus, ovaries, and/or fallopian tubes. Untreated, PID can cause infertility (not being able to get pregnant), ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy in the fallopian tubes instead of the uterus), constant pelvic pain, and other problems. PID can be treated and cured with antibiotics (medicine that kills bacteria). However, damage done by PID to a woman’s uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes cannot be made better.
Q. What causes PID?
A. PID is caused by bacteria that move from the vagina and cervix to the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Most PID is caused by gonorrhea (“gon-or-re-ah”) and chlamydia (“kla-mi-dee-a”),two kinds of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). STDs are diseases that you get by having sex with someone who already has a STD. Doctors also have found that bacteria normally in the vagina and cervix may cause PID.
Q. Do some women have more chance of getting PID than other women?
A. Yes. Women who have STDs, especially gonorrhea and chlamydia; women who have had PID before; teenagers who have sex; women who have many sex partners; women who have Intrauterine Devices (IUDs); women who douche more than twice a month; and women who have had abortions have more chance of getting PID than other women.
Q. What are the signs of PID?
A. The signs of PID are:
- Pain in the lower belly area.
- Smelly vaginal discharge.
- Painful sex.
- Unusual bleeding.
- Bad pain during a pelvic exam.
Some women have no signs of PID, although the disease may be hurting their uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
Q. How is PID treated?
A. PID is treated with two or more antibiotics (medicine that kills bacteria). Women should take all their medicine, even if they stop having signs of the disease. Women should see their doctor two to three days after starting treatment to make sure the medicines are working. Some women need to be treated for PID in the hospital. Sex partners of women with PID should be treated with antibiotics.