Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (also known as Pelvic Inflammatory Disorder, PID) is the infection of the upper part of the female reproductive system, namely the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the uterus.
- It is caused by bacteria that spreads upwards from the vagina and the cervix and infects the upper parts of the reproductive system.
- The early onset of PID exhibits almost no signs and symptoms. But as the infection gets severe symptoms such as lower abdominal pain, heavy, unpleasant vaginal discharge, irregular bleeding between periods, pain during intercourse, fever, and chills, and pain while urination can be observed.
- Severe infections give rise to complications such as endometritis, tubo-ovarian abscess (fluid build-up in fallopian tubes and ovaries), chronic pelvic pain, infertility, and an increased chance of ectopic pregnancy.
- The chances of having Pelvic Inflammatory Disorder might increase if the woman has multiple sexual partners, being in a sexual relationship with a person who has multiple sexual partners, unprotected sex, douching (vaginal rinsing), or having a previous history of PID. These risks are even greater for a sexually active female aged below 25 years.
- PID can be easily diagnosed with blood and urine tests, which check the white blood cell count as a sign of infection. Ultrasound may be performed to identify signs and sites of inflammation. It can also be diagnosed by laparoscopy.
- Prevention is possible for pelvic inflammatory disorder and is generally simple. It includes having protected sex, having a single sexual partner, regular screening for STIs, using barrier methods of protection such as condoms while performing intercourse, avoid douching, and abstinence.
- Treatment options for PID include antibiotic therapy depending upon the infectious agent. If no changes are observed in two to three days, doctors might advise changing the course of treatment to a stronger approach. Screening the partner and their treatment is also advised. Avoiding sexual intercourse until the treatment is complete and the infection has cleared completely.
- For severe cases, intravenous antibiotic therapy followed by a course of regular oral antibiotics is advised with a need for hospitalization. Surgery is rarely required and is performed in cases of abscess build-up and rupture in the fallopian tubes or ovaries.
- Women with more than one episode of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease are at a greater risk of infertility and should consult their gynecologist for an infertility evaluation.