Although it’s possible for PID to clear up without treatment, it’s extremely rare. It’s best to consult with a healthcare professional as soon as possible to confirm the diagnosis and begin treatment.
When detected early, PID is typically cured with a simple course of oral antibiotics. Advanced cases may require intravenous antibiotics and hospitalization,says Michelle Forcier, MD, a gender-affirming clinician with virtual healthcare service FOLX.
Proper medical treatment will cure the infection, but it can’t undo any of the damage the infection caused to the reproductive organs, she says.
“Pelvic inflammatory disease can cause permanent scarring of the cervix, uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes that can lead to permanent infertility and chronic pelvic pain,” says Michael Ingber, MD, urologist and female pelvic medicine specialist at The Center for Specialized Women’s Health in New Jersey.
PID can also increase your risk for ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, and other pregnancy complications, he says.
It depends on whether you seek out treatment and how long you’ve had the infection when you seek out treatment.
A typical course of antibiotics will last 14 days, and at the end of treatment, the infection will be gone, Ingber explains.
In instances where the infection is diagnosed at later stages, you may be admitted to the hospital to receive a course of intravenous antibiotics.
Exactly how many days you need to be on IV antibiotics will depend on the severity of your infection. A typical course of IV antibiotics lasts
There’s no way to know how long PID can or will last without proper medical treatment — but again, experts recommend seeking out proper medical treatment.
“Your immune system may eventually fight off the infection that causes pelvic inflammatory disease,” says Forcier.
But the longer you have the infection before that happens or the more severe the infection is, the more severe the consequences of not seeking medical treatment are, she says.
First, take your full course of prescribed antibiotics, even if you start to feel better and your symptoms resolve before you reach the end of your antibiotics, says Forcier.
Next, see your doctor 2–3 days after starting antibiotics to make sure that they’re working.
Finally, make sure that your recent and current sexual partners are screened for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
PID is a serious infection of the reproductive tract that should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
The longer you have PID, the more likely you are to develop lasting issues like scarring, adhesions, and pain in your reproductive organs, says Forcier.
“While treatment will cure pelvic inflammatory disease, it will not cure [these] lasting issues,” she says.
So, while PID may clear up on its own in rare instances, it’s in your long-term best interest to seek medical care if you suspect that you have been exposed to a bacterial STI or are experiencing PID symptoms.
Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a queer sex educator and wellness journalist who is committed to helping people feel the best they can in their bodies. In addition to Healthline, her work has appeared in publications such as Shape, Cosmopolitan, Well+Good, Health, Self, Women’s Health, Greatist, and more! In her free time, Gabrielle can be found coaching CrossFit, reviewing pleasure products, hiking with her border collie, or recording episodes of the podcast she co-hosts called Bad In Bed. Follow her on Instagram @Gabriellekassel.