Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) – There are a lot of conditions that can affect the female reproductive system. Some of them don’t cause severe symptoms while others can significantly affect your reproductive health and well-being. Pelvic inflammatory disease is a dangerous condition that can cause serious complications. In this article, we will tell you everything you should know about pelvic inflammatory disease.
What is pelvic inflammatory disease?
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a condition in which female pelvic organs become infected and inflamed. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, about 5 percent of women in the United States are affected by PID. Pelvic inflammatory disease is an extremely dangerous, even life-threatening condition if the infection spreads into your bloodstream.
Symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease
Symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease can be mild and difficult to recognize. Some women with pelvic inflammatory disease don’t have any severe symptoms. However, the others may experience:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge with an unpleasant smell
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Vaginal bleeding between periods or after sex
- Pain during sex
- Pain during urination
If you have noticed at least some of the aforementioned symptoms, it is better to make an appointment with a gynecologist for a thorough diagnosis. You should understand that the earlier you start to treat PID, the more effective treatment will be.
Causes of pelvic inflammatory disease
Bacteria that enter the reproductive tract often cause pelvic inflammatory disease. These bacteria are passed from the vagina through the cervix to the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries, and into the pelvis. Many types of bacteria can cause PID, but gonorrhea and chlamydia are the most common as they cause about 90% of PID cases.
Bacteria can also enter your reproductive tract when the normal barrier created by the cervix is ??disrupted. This can happen during menstruation and after childbirth, miscarriage, or abortion. In rare cases, bacteria can also enter the reproductive tract during the insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD) or any procedure that involves inserting instruments into the uterus.
Risk factors for pelvic inflammatory disease
Your risk of getting pelvic inflammatory disease rises if you have gonorrhea, chlamydia, or other STIs. But you can also develop PID because of untreated naturally occurring infections and other factors. The most common of them include:
- Sex before the age of 25
- Multiple sex partners
- Unprotected sex (without a condom)
- Recently inserted an intrauterine device (IUD)
- A history of pelvic inflammatory disease
Complications of pelvic inflammatory disease
Without timely and proper treatment, pelvic inflammatory disease can lead to serious complications. For example, inflammation can contribute to the development of scars and adhesions that can block the fallopian tubes and ovaries. This means that you may have problems with getting pregnant.
As mentioned above, pelvic inflammatory disease can be life-threatening if the infection enters your bloodstream. Additionally, untreated PID can cause chronic pelvic pain and increase your risk of ectopic pregnancy.
Treatment options for pelvic inflammatory disease
If you have been diagnosed with pelvic inflammatory disease, you should visit a gynecology clinic and start treatment as soon as possible. In most cases, antibiotics can fight the infection and eliminate the symptoms. However, you should take all your medicine as prescribed, even if you start feeling better. If medication doesn’t work, you may need to undergo surgical treatment.
If you want to avoid pelvic inflammatory disease, you need to pay attention to your reproductive system. This means that you should use condoms during sex to prevent infection with STIs. You also should undergo STD testing if you have noticed any symptoms of STIs and undergo timely treatment. It would also be beneficial to limit the number of sexual partners.