Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female pelvic organs.

Female Reproductive System Organs
Female Reproductive Organs

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Bacteria causes this infection. The most common ones are gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Risk Factors

The infection is most common in women who are 15-29 years of age.

Other things that may raise your risk are:

  • Having a sexually transmitted infection (STI) now or in the past
  • Having sex with more than one person
  • Sex with a man who has an STI
  • Sex without a condom
  • Having an intrauterine device (IUD) placed in the last three weeks


Women do not always have signs. If you have signs, they may be:

  • Pain in the lower belly
  • Fever
  • Bleeding or leaking with a foul odor
  • Painful during sex
  • Pain when voiding
  • Back pain
  • Upset belly or throwing up


There is no test. The doctor will ask about your health. You will have a physical and pelvic exam.

You may have:

  • Tests for STIs
  • Urine tests to check if you are pregnant or have an infection
  • Blood tests to check for infection
  • Laparoscopy —a tube placed through a small cut to view inside your belly

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The doctor will give you one or more antibiotics. Any male sex partners should also get treated. Do not have sex until you are both treated.

You may need to be in the hospital if you do not get better. A surgeon may need to remove tissue.


Follow these steps:

  • Use a condom when you have sex.
  • Talk to your doctor about birth control choices. Ask which methods may lower your risk.
  • Limit the number of people you have sex with.
  • Get tested for STIs.

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases


The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada

Women's Health Matters


2015 STD treatment guidelines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Updated January 25, 2017. Accessed July 25, 2018.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)—CDC fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Updated July 10, 2017. Accessed July 25, 2018.

Pelvic inflammatory disease. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated July 1, 2018. Accessed July 25, 2018.

Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Kathleen A. Barry, MD  Last Updated: 7/25/2018