What Is PID?

PID refers to “Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.” PID is caused by an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and other reproductive organs. PID is fairly common. The Center for Disease Control estimates that more than a million women experience PID each year. PID is a serious problem, and can be responsible for tissue damage in the uterus or the ovaries, or damage to the fallopian tubes. PID can lead to fertility, the formation of an abscess, recurring pain in the pelvis, and an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy. Women who have had PID have a higher risk of becoming infected a second or subsequent time.

Some research has shown that douching may increase the risk of PID. Douching may force bacteria from the vagina up into the reproductive organs. In addition, women who are younger than age 25 are at higher risk of PID than women over the age of 25. The sexual activity of a woman that may increase her risk of contracting an STD such as Gonorrhea and Chlamydia may also increase her risk of PID.

Two common STDs, gonorrhea and Chlamydia, are often responsible for PID. This occurs when bacteria associated with the STDs move from the genital area into the cervix and toward the reproductive organs. PID that is caused by Chlamydia may be particularly destructive, as it may have no symptoms or only mild symptoms. In over 60% of cases, PID goes on unrecognized by a woman or her physician. When PID does cause symptoms, they can include:

– lower abdominal pain
– right upper abdominal pain
– fever
– vaginal discharge
– painful intercourse
– painful urination
– irregular menstrual bleeding.

Antibiotics are often used to treat PID. By doing a bacterial culture, your health care provider can determine what particular strain of bacteria is causing the infection and treat it appropriately. However, antibiotics do not undo the damage that PID can cause while it is active. If the reproductive organs have become scarred or otherwise damaged because of PID prior to starting antibiotics, the damage may not be able to be reversed.