American Women who are infertile can attribute to tubal damage caused by Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) may result to STD.
Most number of women who develop pelvic inflammatory disease shows no signs or symptoms or don’t seek for treatment. This disease may be detected later on when you experience pain. Learning about PID is an important step so you protect yourself.
At least 15 percent of all American women who are infertile can attribute it to tubal damage caused by pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) the result of an untreated STD. Consistent condom use reduces the risk of recurrent PID and related complications: significantly, women who reported regular use of condoms in one study were 60 percent less likely to become infertile.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female reproductive organs. It usually occurs when sexually transmitted bacteria spread from your vagina to your uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries.
Many women who develop pelvic inflammatory disease either experience no signs or symptoms or don’t seek treatment. Pelvic inflammatory disease may be detected only later when you have trouble getting pregnant or if you develop chronic pelvic pain.
Signs and symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease may include:
- – Pain in your lower abdomen and pelvis
- – Heavy vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor
- – Irregular menstrual bleeding
- – Pain during intercourse
- – Fever
- – Painful or difficult urination
- – PID may cause only minor signs and symptoms or none at all. PID with mild or no symptoms is especially common when the infection is due to chlamydia.
When to see a doctor
Go to the emergency room if you experience the following severe signs and symptoms of PID:
- – Severe pain low in your abdomen
- – Vomiting
- – Signs of shock, such as fainting
- – Fever, with a temperature higher than 101 F (38.3 C)
If your signs and symptoms aren’t severe, but they’re persistent, see your doctor as soon as possible. Vaginal discharge with an odor, painful urination or bleeding between menstrual cycles can be associated with a sexually transmitted infection (STI). If these signs and symptoms appear, stop having sex and see your doctor soon. Prompt treatment of an STI can help prevent PID.
Pelvic inflammatory disease can be caused by a number of bacteria but are most often caused by gonorrhea or chlamydia infections. These bacteria are usually acquired during unprotected sex.
Less commonly, bacteria may enter your reproductive tract anytime the normal barrier created by the cervix is disturbed. This can happen after intrauterine device (IUD) insertion, childbirth, miscarriage or abortion.
A number of factors may increase your risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, including:
- – Being a sexually active woman younger than 25 years old
- – Having multiple sexual partners
- – Being in a sexual relationship with a person who has more than one sex partner
- – Having sex without a condom
- – Having had an IUD inserted recently
- – Douching regularly, which upsets the balance of good versus harmful bacteria in the vagina and may mask symptoms that might otherwise cause you to seek early treatment
- – Having a history of pelvic inflammatory disease or a sexually transmitted infection
If you have been sexually active and notice one of the symptoms you should visit your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Early detection and prompt medical care can prevent the serious complications of PID.
Tests for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Your doctor may be able to diagnose PID after hearing your symptoms. In most cases, your doctor will run tests to confirm the diagnosis. Tests include:
- – pelvic exam to check your pelvic organs
- – cervical culture to check your cervix for infections
- – urine test to check your urine for signs of blood, cancer, and other diseases
After collecting samples, your doctor sends these samples to a laboratory.
If your doctor determines that you have pelvic inflammatory disease, they may run more tests and check your pelvic area for damage. PID can cause scarring on your fallopian tubes and permanent damage to your reproductive organs. Additional tests include:
- pelvic ultrasound: imaging test that uses sound waves to create pictures of your internal organs
- endometrial biopsy: outpatient procedure where a doctor removes and examines a small sample from the lining of your uterus
- laparoscopy: outpatient procedure where a doctor inserts a flexible instrument through an incision in your abdomen and takes pictures of your pelvic organs
Treatment for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Your doctor will likely have you take antibiotics to treat PID. Because your doctor may not know the type of bacteria that caused your infection, they may give you two different types of antibiotics to treat a variety of bacteria.
Within a few days of starting treatment, your symptoms may improve or go away. However, you should finish your medication, even if you are feeling better. Stopping your medication early may cause the infection to return.
If you are sick, pregnant, can’t swallow pills, or have an abscess (pocket of pus caused by the infection) in your pelvis, your doctor may send you to the hospital for treatment.
Pelvic inflammatory disease may require surgery. This is rare and only necessary if an abscess in your pelvis ruptures or your doctor suspects that an abscess will rupture. It can also be necessary if the infection does not respond to treatment.
The bacteria that cause PID can spread through sexual contact. If you are sexually active, your partner should also get treated for PID. Men may be silent carriers of bacteria that cause pelvic inflammatory disease. Your infection can recur if your partner doesn’t receive treatment. You may be asked to abstain from sexual intercourse until the infection has been resolved.
Ways to Prevent Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
You can lower your risk of PID by:
- – practicing safe sex
- – getting tested for sexually transmitted infections
- – avoiding douches
- – wiping from front to back after using the bathroom to stop bacteria from entering your vagina
Long-Term Complications of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Make a doctor’s appointment if you think that you have PID. Other conditions, such as a urinary tract infection, can feel like pelvic inflammatory disease. However, your doctor can test for PID and rule out other conditions.
If you don’t treat your PID, your symptoms can worsen and lead to problems, such as:
- infertility: inability to conceive a child
- ectopic pregnancy: pregnancy that occurs outside the womb
- chronic pelvic pain: pain in the lower abdomen caused by scarring of the fallopian tubes and other pelvic organs
The infection can also spread to other parts of your body. If it spreads to your blood, it can become life-threatening.
Long-Term Outlook for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease is a very treatable condition and most women make a full recovery. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 to 15 percent of women with PID will have difficulty getting pregnant. Moreover, the Berkeley County Health Department notes that about 9 percent of women will have an ectopic pregnancy, and 18 percent of women will have chronic pelvic pain as a result of PID.
There’s a lot of alternatives to protect yourself from getting the virus or infections in the future. Having a safe sex and using a condom or other barrier device will prevent you from getting STD or STI. Getting tested once a year can also help you keep track if something is wrong and have it taken care of before it causes any serious illness.