Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Monica E. Lopez, M.D.


Bacteria causes pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID

Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection that begins with bacteria that moves from the cervix and vagina into the upper genital tract to the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. This condition affects approximately one million women in the United States every year,¹ usually women who are age 25 or younger, but PID can occur in sexually active women at any age.

The most common cause of pelvic inflammatory disease is sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, particularly gonorrhea and chlamydia. Other types of bacteria such as bacterial vaginosis can also cause PID.

Signs and symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease can be difficult to diagnose because, often, women either experience no symptoms at all or mild symptoms when the infection is in the early stages. Our Grapevine OBGYNs want women to be aware of the signs and symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease so they can report them to physicians for further examination and diagnosis.

  • Pain in the upper right or lower abdominal area
  • Abnormal bleeding during menstruation or between periods
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Pain that occurs during sexual intercourse
  • Painful urination

If you experience a high fever of 101°F, severe vomiting or signs that you are going into shock, you should seek emergency care right away.

Risk factors for PID

Having an STI, multiple sexual partners, a partner who has had multiple partners or previous occurrences of PID are all factors that will increase your risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease.

Another potential risk factor for PID is douching. This can push dangerous bacteria further into the upper genital tract where infection is likely to occur. For this reason and others, our Grapevine OBGYNs recommend that women do not douche at any time.

Early diagnosis and treatment help prevent complications

Left untreated, pelvic inflammatory disease can cause scar tissue to form in the reproductive organs, as well as abscesses in the fallopian tubes. It’s important to diagnose and treat pelvic inflammatory disease early to avoid potentially dangerous complications.

Infertility issues. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states that pelvic inflammatory disease causes infertility in one in ten women.²

Ectopic pregnancy. When the fertilized egg can’t move through the fallopian tubes, the resulting embryo can remain and grow in the tube and cause a dangerous situation — extreme blood loss and even emergency surgery.

Chronic pelvic pain. According to a study published in Sexually Transmitted Diseases, women who had recurring cases of pelvic inflammatory disease were four times more likely to suffer from chronic pelvic pain, ³ which can last for many years.

Please share your concerns with our Grapevine OBGYNs. Our knowledgeable and approachable women’s health experts can help prevent, treat and manage PID. Contact us today.

¹ and ² http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Pelvic-Inflammatory-Disease-PID
³ http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/753584