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Everything You Need to Know about Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female reproductive organs. Here is everything that you need to know about PID.

Women's Health By Himanshu Sharma / Apr 23, 2014

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female reproductive organs. The condition can lead to serious damage to the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes or other female reproductive parts. (Image source:Getty)

Causes

Pelvic inflammatory disease occurs when the cervix is exposed to a sexually transmitted disease -- such as gonorrhoea and/or chlamydia. The cervix becomes infected and can’t prevent the spread of organisms to the internal organs. (Image source:Getty)

Symptoms

The symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease can vary. Some common symptoms of PID are- tenderness in the stomach or lower abdominal area, pain in the right upper abdomen, painful urination, and abnormal vaginal discharge (yellow or green in colour). The condition may accompany chills, high fever and nausea. (Image source:Getty)

Risks

Women with sexually transmitted diseases are at greater risk of developing PID, gonorrhoea and chlamydia in particular. Sexually active teenagers and women with many sexual partners are more likely to develop PID. Douching (directing a spray of water into a bodily cavity, for cleaning) is known to cause PID, but there is not much evidence to support this. (Image source:Getty)

Tests

To diagnose pelvic inflammatory disease, a swab (small sample of discharge) is usually taken from the neck of the womb to test the bacteria. Besides, a swab from the urethra and urine tests may also be taken. An ultrasound scan may also be required to confirm the disease. (Image source:Getty)

Possible complications

There are fewer chances of complications if PID is diagnosed and treated early. Difficulty in becoming pregnant, scarring or damage to the Fallopian tubes, ectopic pregnancy, Reiter's syndrome and an abscess are some of the complications associated with PID. (Image source:Getty)

Treatment

PID can be treated with a course of antibiotics. More than one antibiotic can be prescribed to cover the range of possible bacteria that cause PID. Treatment may start immediately after PID is suspected. The earlier the treatment, the better the outlook. Occasionally, an operation is needed. (Image source:Getty)

Prevention

Safe sex practice such as wearing a condom during intercourse keeps you away from sexually transmitted infections. Moreover, the risk of infection increases with the number of changes in sexual partners. (Image source:Getty)

Recurrence

One can have further episodes of PID; however, the odds for recurrence are 1 in 5. The recurrence of pelvic inflammatory disease is usually within two years. It may recur if one’s partner was not treated, safer sex is not practiced or if antibiotics are not taken for long enough. (Image source:Getty)

Get Help

Awareness is the key to prevent PID. It is important to discuss with your partner how PID occurs, the risks of STDs and awareness about symptoms. It is difficult to talk about STDs, but just as with any other medical issue, teens need this information to stay safe and healthy. Furthermore, it's also important that you have regular full physical exams. (Image source:Getty)

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