What is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?
You absolutely must learn to recognize the symptoms associated with chronic pelvic inflammation so you can see a doctor for treatment. If not, this could create even more serious complications.
For centuries, this condition has been known as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). It is an infection, generally caused by a bacteria or sexually transmitted disease (STD). The primary symptom is constant lower abdominal pain, which is present at all times.
In this article, you are going to learn answers to questions about PID, as well as important information for detecting it in time.
Common visits about PID
Often times women fail to see their gynecologist whenever their pelvis hurts because they think it’s “normal”, or “I’ll be getting my period in a few days”, “I bet it’s because I sat all day”, etc.
However, this could be caused by a disease known as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. Common questions include:
What is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?
PID is an infection that appears in the reproductive organs, or more specifically, the fallopian tubes, the uterus, the ovaries, vagina, and the cervix.
What causes PID?
This disease is generally caused by a sexually transmitted disease (most commonly chlamydia and gonorrhea) or a bacteria. If the former is your case, the bacteria could have entered your system via:
- Endometrial biopsy
- Inserting and Intrauterine Device (IUD)
- Miscarriages or abortions
Who can get PID?
The truth is, every woman is vulnerable to suffering from PID, however, your risks are greater if:
- You have unprotected sexual relations
- Sexual relations with several people
- If your partner has a sexually transmitted disease (whether you know about it or not)
- If you have had a sexually transmitted disease
- Starting sexual relations before the age of 20
- Inserting your own contraceptive methods.
How does one get PID?
Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection in the vagina and cervix. If not treated by using antibiotics, this disease could spread to the endometrium (the lining of the uterus), followed by the Fallopian tubes, the ovaries, the uterus, and lastly, the abdomen.
What are PID’s primary symptoms?
When a woman has PID, she could experience:
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Lower back pain
- Long periods (longer than one week)
- Heavy menstruation
- Very painful menstruation
- Abdominal cramps
- Spotting throughout the month (outside of your period)
- Abnormal vaginal secretions
- Pain during or after sexual relations
- Pain during a gynecological examination
- Burning during urination
- Pain during urination
- Pain while sitting
- Excessive pelvic sensitivity
- Abnormal fatigue
- Lack of energy
- Frequent urination
- Lack of menstruation or delays in menstruation
Very rarely do women contract PID without presenting any of these symptoms, but it becomes extremely apparent when a woman experiences an ectopic pregnancy (outside of the uterus) or infertility.
How is PID diagnosed?
Your gynecologist will order a series of tests to prove whether you have pelvic inflammatory disease, or some other condition. Basically, there are 2 exams the doctor will request:
- Pelvic exam
- Blood analysis
Your doctor may also request a sonogram (radiation-free exam) to find evidence of abscesses or complications, or they may perform a laparoscopy (minor surgery which examines the reproductive organs to correctly diagnose the disease).
It’s a good idea to have complete annual checkups in order to detect and treat any gynecological disease in time.
Pap smears and colposcopies can be done at any time after a woman’s first sexual encounter. These tests are quick, simple and are not painful. They can prevent a lot of complications or problems in the future.
How is PID treated?
This all depends on how advanced your disease is. Your doctor may choose in-patient or out-patient treatment. In most cases, an antibiotic injection is provided and the patient is prescribed a specific medication for two weeks. Afterwards they will receive the appropriate medical care.
If the patient has a very serious case of PID she may be hospitalized and given antibiotics intravenously, or with oral pills. This will also treat the cause of the inflammation, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia.
Is PID dangerous?
It can be if not treated appropriately. If it causes scar tissue to form in the Fallopian tubes, for example, the woman may have problems getting pregnant, or may even experience infertility.
If the Fallopian tubes are partially obstructed, pregnancy could occur outside of the uterus (ectopic pregnancy). If the infection is extremely severe surgery may need to be performed in order to remove damaged tissue or organs.
How can PID be prevented?
Whether you want to prevent getting sick, or prevent it from happening again and have already had PID, it’s a good idea to:
- Avoid unprotected sexual relations (always use a condom).
- Avoid relations with individuals that could have an STD.
- Limit your amount of partners.
- Avoid vaginal douches or baths, because the bacteria could spread.
- Avoid smoking.
- Take antibiotics and follow your doctor’s orders.
- Pay attention to your symptoms.
- Abstain from sex until you are fully recovered.
- Make future partners get a medical examination to find or rule out STD’s.
- Get a gynecological exam once a year.
- Eat a diet that promotes a strong immune system, which prevents the growth of bacteria or viruses.