Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, is an infection of your uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes. PID is usually caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. PID can cause scars in the fallopian tubes. This can make it hard for you to get pregnant in the future.

It’s important to take all the medicine that was prescribed. PID can cause serious health problems if you don't complete your treatment.

Having one STI increases your risk for other STIs. Examples include genital herpes, genital warts, syphilis, and HIV. It’s a good idea to start thinking now about how to prevent more STIs. Not having sex is the best way to prevent any STI.


What are the symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)?

The most common symptom is pain in the lower belly. It's often described as cramping or a dull and constant ache. It may get worse during vaginal sex, during bowel movements, or when you urinate. PID may also cause vaginal bleeding after sex, abnormal vaginal discharge, irregular menstrual bleeding, or a fever.


How is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and do a physical exam, including a pelvic exam. You may have tests for the most common causes of PID, including chlamydia and gonorrhea. Your blood and vaginal discharge may be tested to look for signs of infection.

Your doctor may order an ultrasound to look for other possible causes of your symptoms. An ultrasound may also show if there is damage to the fallopian tubes, uterus, or ovaries from PID.

The test results may take some time, so your doctor will treat you before the test results are ready. Treating PID early is important to prevent problems later on.


How is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) treated?

Your doctor will prescribe antibiotic pills to treat PID. Take them as directed. If you don't take all of the medicine, the infection may come back. See your doctor for follow-up to make sure that the treatment is working.

Your sex partner or partners will also need to be treated to avoid spreading the infection. It's important to avoid sex until you and any sex partners have finished the medicine.

If PID is severe, if you're pregnant, or if you don't get better by taking antibiotics at home, you may need to be treated in the hospital and get antibiotics through a vein (intravenous). In rare cases, surgery is needed to drain a pocket of infection, or abscess.