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Complications of pelvic inflammatory disease

PID - Pelvic inflammatory disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a sexually transmitted infection caused by bacteria, most commonly chlamydia, spreading from the vagina or cervix into the uterus, Fallopian tubes, and sometimes ovaries. PID can also be caused by gonorrhea. There are cases of PID those were not caused by a sexually transmitted disease, and they are related to the period after childbirth and the insertion of a contraceptive intrauterine device.

The condition is most common in sexually active women aged 15 to 24.

Women who have recently had an abortion or a procedure to the uterus; women who frequently change sexual partners, or these who have already had PID or another sexually transmitted infection, are at a higher risk of getting PID.

Symptoms of PID

The common symptoms of PID include mild to severe pain in the lower abdomen area, lower back pain, fever, painful intercourse, abnormal vaginal discharge, or abnormal vaginal bleeding. They can either occur rapidly, causing the person to feel unwell for several days, or develop over a period of time. It can take a while before the bacteria are spread from the cervix to uterus, so, some women experience symptoms only weeks or months after sexual contact with the infected partner.


In cases of symptomatic pelvic inflammatory disease, the treatment needs to be administered 2-3 days after the first symptoms appear. Some cases of PID are not detected for a long time, due to the absence of any signs. Although the symptoms may not appear at first, the person still faces the risk of developing complications. Early diagnosis and treatment are the only way to prevent the following potential complications.

One of five women will end up experiencing chronic pain that can also occur during sexual intercourse. In severe infections, a collection of puss, medically termed as abscess, can appear next to the uterus. Women who have suffered the case of PID are likely to have difficulties when trying to get pregnant, because pelvic inflammatory disease can cause damage to the Fallopian tubes in the form of scars. This is a possible scenario even if no symptoms of PID develop. Another consequence of the damage done to Fallopian tubes might be an ectopic pregnancy. This is the case of a pregnancy developing inside the Fallopian tube instead of the uterus.

Pregnant women with the untreated PID are at the increased risk of a miscarriage, premature birth, or even stillbirth. Rarely, Reiter’s syndrome may develop after the episode of PID. This condition causes eye inflammation and arthritis, and is suspected to occur as the consequence of the response of the immune system to the infection.







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