What is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and Treatments?

Dr Foram Bhuta

Dr Foram Bhuta

BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery), 10 years of experience

December 18, 2021 Womens Health 346 Views

English हिन्दी Bengali

What is the meaning of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?

Pelvic inflammatory disease or PID is an infection of the female reproductive organs.

The pelvic inflammatory disease usually occurs when sexually transmitted bacteria spreads from the vagina (a muscular, elastic canal that connects the uterus to the outside world) to the uterus (womb), ovaries (a pair of egg-producing organs), or fallopian tubes (a pair of tubes that carry the egg from the ovaries to the uterus).

The female reproductive system is that part of the body that is responsible for the pregnancy and having a baby. The pelvic region is the lower abdomen (stomach region) that includes the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and cervix (the lower part of the uterus).

The initial symptoms are usually mild and you may not realize that you may have PID until you develop chronic (long-term) pelvic pain or if you have difficulty in getting pregnant.

In this article, we will be discussing in detail about pelvic inflammatory disease and its treatments.

  • What are the causes of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?
  • What are the risk factors of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?
  • What are the symptoms of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?
  • How to diagnose Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?
  • What are the Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Treatments?
  • What are the complications of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?
  • How to prevent Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?

What are the causes of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?

The different causes of pelvic inflammatory disease include:

  • Bacterial infections like gonorrhea or chlamydia infections, which are sexually transmitted infections that spread through unprotected sex
  • Menstruation
  • After childbirth
  • Miscarriage
  • Abortion
  • During insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD) (a birth control method)
  • Insertion of instruments into the uterus for any medical procedures

( Know more about- What is Sex During Pregnancy? )

What are the risk factors of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?

Certain factors may increase the risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease and may include:

  • Being sexually active at less than 25 years of age
  • Having multiple sexual partners
  • Having unprotected sex
  • Having sex with someone who has multiple sexual partners
  • History of pelvic inflammatory disease 
  • History of a sexually transmitted disease
  • Douching (washing the inside of the vagina using water or other fluid mixtures) regularly
  • After the insertion of an IUD (for the first three weeks following insertion)

( Know more about- What is Pregnancy Care? )

What are the symptoms of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?

The symptoms of the pelvic inflammatory disease may be mild and difficult to identify. When symptoms are present, they may include:

  • Pain in the abdomen and pelvis which may be mild or severe
  • Heavy or abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal discharge with a foul odor
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding during or after sexual intercourse
  • Abnormal bleeding between menstrual cycles
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Frequent, painful, or difficult urination

( Know more about- What is Uterine Cancer Treatment? )

How to diagnose Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?

  • Physical examination: The doctor will examine you physically. You will be asked about your sexual habits, methods of birth control that you use, and history of any sexually transmitted diseases. You will also be asked about any symptoms that you may be having.
  • Pelvic exam: The doctor will check your pelvic region for the presence of any swelling or tenderness. The doctor may use cotton swabs for taking fluid samples from the cervix or vagina. These samples are sent to the laboratory to check for any signs of infection and the presence of organisms like chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • Blood tests and urine tests: These tests are used to check for pregnancy, presence of any sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, measurement of the white blood cell count (increased level is indicative of infection), or other markers of inflammation or infection.
  • Ultrasound: This is an imaging test that uses sound waves for creating images of the internal female reproductive organs.
  • Endometrial biopsy: A thin tube is inserted by the doctor into the uterus to remove a small portion of the tissue lining the uterus (called endometrial tissue). This tissue is sent to the laboratory to check for signs of infection and inflammation.
  • Laparoscopy: A thin, lighted instrument known as a laparoscope is inserted through a small incision in the abdomen to obtain a clear image of the internal pelvic organs.

( Know more about- What is Ovarian Cyst Removal Surgery? )

What are the Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Treatments?

Treatment can help in eliminating the infection that causes pelvic inflammatory disease. But the scarring or damage caused to the reproductive tract due to PID cannot be reversed.

The various treatment options include:

Antibiotics:

  • The doctor will prescribe antibiotics that need to be started immediately.
  • Once the doctor receives your lab results, the doctor will alter the prescription according to the cause of your infection.
  • It is essential to have a follow-up with your doctor three days after starting with the treatment, to check if the medications are working or not.
  • It is important to complete the entire course of the antibiotic, even if you start feeling better much before.

Hospitalization:

  • In case of pregnancy, serious illness, non-responsiveness to oral medications, or a suspected abscess (pockets of infected fluid or pus) you may require hospitalization.
  • You will be receiving intravenous antibiotics (antibiotics injected through the veins), followed by oral antibiotics.

Surgery:

  • Surgical intervention is rarely required.
  • In case of an abscess that has ruptured, or is likely to rupture, the doctor will drain it surgically.
  • Surgery may also be required in cases of a questionable diagnosis or you do not respond to antibiotic medications.

Temporary abstinence:

  • Avoid any sexual activity till the treatment is complete and the symptoms have disappeared.

Treatment for your sexual partner:

  • Your sexual partner or partners should be examined and treated for the presence of any underlying sexually transmitted infections.
  • This prevents your risk of re-infections.

( Know more about- What is Cervical Cancer Treatment? )

What are the complications of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?

The complications of pelvic inflammatory disease include:

  • Scar tissue formation
  • Abscess formation in the fallopian tubes, uterus, or other pelvic organs
  • Infertility (inability to get pregnant)
  • Ectopic pregnancy (the female egg implants in the fallopian tubes instead of the uterus causing life-threatening bleeding)
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever, with a temperature of more than 101 F
  • Vaginal discharge with a foul odor
  • Painful urination
  • Bleeding between menstrual cycles

( Know more about- What are the reasons of Infertility in Females? )

How to prevent Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?

Pelvic inflammatory disease can be prevented in the following ways:

  • Use barrier methods like condoms during sex, even if you are taking birth control pills
  • Avoid multiple sexual partners
  • Get yourself and your partner tested for sexually transmitted infections
  • Avoid douches
  • Wipe from front backward after using the toilet to prevent bacteria from entering the vagina.

We hope we could answer all your questions about Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and its treatments through this article.

If you want to get more information about Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, you can contact a Gynecologist

We only aim to give you information through the article. We do not recommend medication or treatment in any way. Only a doctor can give you the best advice and correct treatment plan. 

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