Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
PELVIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASE (PID)
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) refers to infection of the fallopian tubes and other internal reproductive organs in women. It is a common and serious complication of some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Douching and using an intrauterine device (IUD) are also associated with increased risk of PID. PID can damage the fallopian tubes and tissues in and near the uterus and ovaries. Untreated, PID can lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain. Each year, more than 1 million U.S. women experience an episode of acute PID. More than 100,000 women become infertile each year as a result of PID, and a large proportion of ectopic pregnancies are due to the consequences of PID. Most cases of PID are associated with gonorrhea and chlamydia; 10 to 20 percent of women with these STDs will develop PID.
PID occurs when bacteria move upward from a woman's vagina or cervix into the internal reproductive organs. Bacteria can silently invade the fallopian tubes and cause scarring that blocks or interrupts the normal movement of eggs into the uterus. Because many women have only vague or mild symptoms, PID frequently goes unrecognized. Women who do have symptoms commonly have pain in the lower or right upper abdomen, fever, unusual vaginal discharge, painful intercourse, and irregular menstrual bleeding. PID can be cured with antibiotics. Women with pelvic pain and other symptoms caused by PID should seek care immediately. The longer a woman delays treatment, the more likely she is to suffer infertility or an ectopic pregnancy in the future.
The main cause of PID is an untreated STD. Women can protect themselves from PID by taking action to prevent STDs or by getting early treatment if they do get an STD.
ALLISON L. GREENSPAN
JOEL R. GREENSPAN
(SEE ALSO: Sexually Transmitted Diseases)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1998). "1998 Guidelines for Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases." Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 47(RR-1):79–86.
Westrom, L., and Eschenbach, D. (1999). "Pelvic Inflammatory Disease." In Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 3rd edition, eds. K. Holmes, P. Mardh, P. Sparling et al. New York: McGraw-Hill.