Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female reproductive organs which includes the fallopian tubes, the uterus (womb), ovaries and cervix. PID is a common condition and it can affect any woman.
What are the causes of PID?
The disease is mostly caused by a bacterial infection. The bacteria may be the ones that normally live in the vagina or bacteria that causes sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea and chlamydia.
Once a woman becomes infected, the bacteria travel from her vagina or cervix and up to other reproductive organs. If left untreated, PID can become very dangerous and life-threatening; this is especially true if the infection spreads to the blood
What puts a woman at risk of PID?
Any woman can have PID but certain factors put a woman at a greater risk:
- Having an STI like gonorrhea and Chlamydia
- Having a history of PID
- Using IUD (intrauterine device) as contraception
- Having more than one sexual partner
- Being younger than 25 and sexually active
- Having sexual intercourse without the use of condom
What are the symptoms of PID?
Usually, the disease does not cause any symptoms and a lot of women who are infected are not aware they’ve been infected. When symptoms do show, they can be mild or severe and they may include:
- Pain in the tummy
- Painful sex and urination
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Bleeding between periods and after sex
- Heavy and painful periods
- Extreme tiredness
- Nausea and vomiting
How is PID treated?
If you experience some of these symptoms, it’s important that you see your doctor. Your doctor would examine you to find out the cause of your symptoms. If PID is diagnosed at an early stage, it can be treated with a course of antibiotics. If left untreated or detected late, PID can lead to complications like chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy and infertility.