More than 1 million women in the U.S. are diagnosed with Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) annually. PID symptoms can include pelvic pain, fever/chills, burning urination, painful intercourse, abnormal discharge/bleeding, nausea and vomiting. Women younger than 25 years of age are more likely to develop PID
“PID is caused by bacteria (from chlamydia or gonorrhea) moving from the lower reproductive organs up to the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes,” says McLeod Gynecologist Monica Ploetzke, MD. “If not treated, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease can cause continuing pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy and infertility. So, it’s important to understand the disease and see your Gynecologist if you have any concerns.”
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE PID
Having one or more of the symptoms, doesn’t necessarily mean you have PID. But you should see a Gynecologist to determine what the problem is.
There are no quick tests for pelvic inflammatory disease. So, a visit to your Gynecologist will include:
Your GYN will prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. Be sure to take ALL the antibiotics, even if the symptoms fade away. Your physician will probably want to see you after you start the antibiotics to confirm the medication is working.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
Prevention is the most important step you can take. Schedule yearly checkups with your Gynecologist. Make sure a male partner uses protection. Also, do not douche. Douching can push bacteria further up into the reproductive organs. Void before and after intercourse. And after using the bathroom, wipe front to back.
Seeing a Gynecologist as soon as possible is important, because PID can scar your fallopian tubes, blocking eggs from traveling into the tubes or resulting in a pregnancy in the fallopian tubes (ectopic), rather than in the uterus.
Antibiotics can cure the symptoms but cannot repair the scarring.
Learn more about causes and background of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.
Sources include: McLeod Health, American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, New England Journal of Medicine, US Department of Health & Human Services, US Centers for Disease Control