Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
by Michelle Badash, MS
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a serious infection of the female reproductive organs. This includes the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. PID can cause scar tissue to form in the pelvis and fallopian tubes. This damage may result in infertility, a future tubal pregnancy, or chronic pelvic pain.
Risk Factors TOP
PID is more common in women aged 15-24 years. Other factors that may increase your chance of getting PID include:
Women with PID do not always have symptoms. However, if symptoms do occur, they may include:
Because symptoms are often subtle or nonexistent, PID can be difficult to diagnose. There are no specific tests for PID.
If PID is suspected, the doctor will ask about your symptoms, as well as your sexual history, partners, and birth control methods. A physical and pelvic exam will be done. The pelvic exam is key to making the diagnosis. Samples from the vagina or cervix may be taken to help diagnose the problem.
Tests may include:
The primary treatment for PID is antibiotics. Your doctor may prescribe more than one type of antibiotic to treat the problem. Finish the entire dose of each medication, even if your symptoms disappear during treatment.
You may be hospitalized if the diagnosis is uncertain, you do not improve, or your symptoms are severe. In the hospital, antibiotics can be given by IV. In certain situations, surgery may be required to remove infected or damaged tissue.
If you are diagnosed with PID, follow your doctor's instructions.
To help reduce your chance of getting PID, take these steps:
If you are diagnosed with PID or another STD:
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
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) - CDC fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/pid/STDFact-PID.htm. Updated September 28, 2013. Accessed July 25, 2013.
Pelvic inflammatory disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what. Updated January 20, 2013. Accessed July 25, 2013.
Pelvic inflammatory disease. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH website. Available at: http://www.niaid.n.... Updated November 29, 2011. Accessed July 25, 2013.
Workowski KA, Berman S, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2010. MMWR. 2010;59(No. RR-12):1-110.
Last reviewed July 2013 by Andrea Chisholm; Brian Randall, MD
Last Updated: 07/25/2013