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.
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PID is most common in women aged 15-24 years. Other factors that may increase your chance of PID include:
Women with PID do not always have symptoms. 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, you will be asked 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. More than 1 antibiotic may be prescribed 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.
To help reduce your chance of PID:
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
2010 STD treatment guidelines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2010/default.htm. Updated December 16, 2010. Accessed June 7, 2016.
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 May 23, 2016. Accessed June 7, 2016.
Pelvic inflammatory disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 15, 2016. Accessed June 7, 2016.
Pelvic inflammatory disease. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/pelvicinflammatorydisease/Pages/default.aspx. Updated November 29, 2011. Accessed June 7, 2016.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Marcie Sidman, MD Last Updated: 7/25/2013