Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female pelvic organs. This includes the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and bladder.
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PID is caused by bacteria. It is often due to a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The most common ones are gonorrhea and chlamydia.
PID is most common in women 15 to 29 years of age and sexually active. Other things that may increase the risk of PID include:
Some women do not have symptoms. Those that do may have:
The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may suspect PID based on symptoms and exam. An internal exam of the pelvis may be done. A sample of fluid from the vagina may be taken. It will be sent to a lab for testing. Other tests may include:
Antibiotics can treat the infection. Sex partners should also get treated or the infection will continue. Hospital care may be needed if the infection does not clear with basic care.
PID can cause damage to pelvic organs if it is not treated. This can lead to problems with fertility, pregnancy, and cause long term pain.
Steps that may help to prevent PID include:
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: https://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/. Accessed October 4, 2020.
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. Accessed October 4, 2020.
Pelvic inflammatory disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114793/Pelvic-inflammatory-disease-PID. Accessed October 4, 2020.
Last reviewed October 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Kathleen A. Barry, MD Last Updated: 10/4/2020