Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) Causes and Prevention

Signs and symptoms of this condition

Stomach ache
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Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) affects millions of women each year in the United States and is an infection of one or more pelvic organs, including the uterus, cervix and fallopian tubes.

PID occurs when a bacteria or organism enters the cervix and spreads upward. Symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease include:

  • lower abdominal pain,
  • fever up to 103 degrees,
  • rapid pulse,
  • chills,
  • back pain,
  • pain during sex,

PID is a serious condition and requires immediate medical attention. If you are experiencing pelvic pain or symptoms, you should see your gynecologist immediately. Make a record of your pain and take it with you to your appointment. It will help your physician to know exactly when your pain occurs, where your pain is located and the severity of your pain. If pelvic inflammatory disease is left untreated it can become life-threatening.

Pelvic inflammatory disease is usually contracted through sexual contact. Untreated gonorrhea and chlamydia cause an estimated 90 percent of all cases of PID. However, it's sometimes caused by abortion, childbirth or a pelvic procedure.

PID Caused by Childbirth

One individual developed PID immediately following the birth of her second child. She woke up four days after his birth running a 103 degree temperature and experiencing severe abdominal pain.

The medical team told her it was an 'inflammation' of some kind. She spent the next several months in and out of the hospital receiving large doses of intravenous antibiotics.

Six years later, she went to her gynecologist complaining of severe chronic pelvic pain. He first treated her with anti-inflammatory medications and antibiotics to see if her symptoms would subside.

Seeing no improvement, he scheduled her for a laparoscopy to determine the source of her pain. The laparoscopy revealed pelvic adhesions and the destruction of her fallopian tubes caused by PID.

Pelvic adhesions covered her uterus and ovaries. She would not be able to conceive without major reconstructive surgery. Tuboplasty with laser lysis of adhesions was performed, and she gave birth to a son not long afterward.

The woman's pelvic pain improved dramatically following surgery, however, the adhesions returned and were removed again during a tubal ligation, which turned into major surgery in 1989. The adhesions prevented the surgeon from accessing her tubes through a laparoscope.

During an unsuccessful bladder suspension surgery, her adhesions were removed once again. The adhesions returned and she planned to undergo a complete hysterectomy and a second attempt at bladder suspension to permanently relieve her chronic pelvic pain.

What Are Current Treatment and Prevention Recommendations?

Pelvic inflammatory disease can today be diagnosed through a procedure called falloposcopy.

Falloposcopy is a visual examination of the inside of the fallopian tubes; it's a simple procedure performed on an outpatient basis.

If PID is found and it hasn't progressed to a stage severe enough to require major reconstructive surgery to repair the fallopian tubes, antibiotic therapy may be tried. Floxin is now approved by the FDA as the first oral medication approved for independent use to treat pelvic inflammatory disease. Previous recommendations included the use of intravenous antibiotics which required hospitalization.

The cervix dilates slightly just before, during and after your period, increasing your risk of pelvic inflammatory disease by making it easier for an organism or bacteria to enter the cervix and cause infection. Extra care should be taken at these times to prevent PID and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Douching significantly increases your risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease and other pelvic infections and is not recommended. Douching removes the natural, protective mucous from the cervix, giving bacteria a more receptive place to grow. You should use caution if you must douche and be aware of the risk.

The best protection against PID and other STDs is to always use a condom, unless you are in a long- term monogamous relationship and both of you have been tested for HIV and other STDs. A few inconvenient moments before sexual intercourse can prevent a lifetime of pain and even an untimely death. So... don't forget the condom!


STD facts - PID. 

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