Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of a woman's womb (uterus), ovaries, or fallopian tubes.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection caused by bacteria. When bacteria from the vagina or cervix travel to your womb, fallopian tubes, or ovaries they can cause an infection.
Bacteria can also enter your body during a medical procedure such as:
In the U.S., nearly 1 million women have PID each year. About 1 in 8 sexually active girls will have PID before age 20.
You are more likely to get PID if:
Common symptoms of PID include:
Other symptoms that may occur with PID:
You can have PID and not have any symptoms. For example, chlamydia can cause PID with no symptoms. Women who have an ectopic pregnancy or who are infertile often have PID caused by chlamydia. An ectopic pregnancy is when an egg grows outside of the uterus. It puts the mother's life in danger.
Your health care provider may do a pelvic exam to look for:
You may have lab tests to check for signs of infection:
Other tests include:
Your doctor will often have you start taking antibiotics while waiting for your test results.
If you have mild PID:
If you have more severe PID:
There are many different antibiotics that can treat PID. Some are safe for pregnant women. Which type you take depends on the cause of the infection. You may receive a different treatment if you have gonorrhea or chlamydia.
If your PID is caused by an STI like gonorrhea or chlamydia, your sexual partner must be treated as well.
PID infections can cause scarring of the pelvic organs. This can lead t:
If you have a serious infection that doesn't improve with antibiotics, you may need surgery.
Call your health care provider if:
Get prompt treatment for STIs.
You can prevent PID by practicing safe sex.
Here is how you can reduce your risk of PID:
PID; Oophoritis; Salpingitis; Salpingo-oophoritis; Salpingo-peritonitis
Birnbaumer DM. Sexually transmitted diseases. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 98.
Meyers D, Wolff T, Gregory K, et al. USPSTF recommendations for STI screening. Am Fam Physician. 2008;77:819-824.
Workowski KA, Berman S; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2010. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2010;59(RR-12):1-110.
Updated by: Cynthia D. White, MD, Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Group Health Cooperative, Bellevue, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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