February 19th, 2014
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is an infection of a woman’s pelvic organs. The female pelvis is different from the male pelvis in many ways. Not only its shape, but its content is completely different compared to the male pelvis. Starting with the external orifice, the vagina, there is a continuous connection up to the cervix and body of the uterus (the womb), to the fallopian tubes, and to the ovaries (the eggs). The fallopian tubes are further connected to the internal pelvic area. If bacteria, for any reason, find their way up from the vagina, they might cause a severe infection and inflammation of the pelvic content: Pelvis Inflammatory Disease.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) also referred to as PID, oophoritis, salpingitis, salpingo-oophoritis, or salpingo-peritonitis is basically the general term used for an infection of the uterus, the fallopian tubes, or the ovaries. In the United States, nearly 1 million women develop PID each year. About 1 in 8 sexually active adolescent girls will develop PID before age 20.
The usual cause of an infection of the pelvic structures is bacterial invasion and immigration which enter and move from the vagina or cervix into the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, or even into the internal space of the pelvis. The causative mechanism of this bacterial invasion is mostly a transmission of STD (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) causing bacteria during unprotected sexual activity with an already infected partner; chlamydia and gonorrhea causing bacteria belong to the most common triggers of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Besides a transmission during sex, childbirth, endometrial biopsy, insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD), miscarriage, and therapeutic or elective abortion are events that may cause an infection and inflammation of the female pelvic organs.
Pelvic Inflammatory disease (PID) may or may not be associated with any symptoms. If symptoms occur, they are signs of an active infection associated with acute illness and pain. Most common signs of PID may include fever (not always present), pain in the pelvic, lower abdominal, or lower back area, and vaginal discharge with an abnormal color, texture, or smell.
Besides these typical symptoms, silent PID, or general signs of illness and infection like fever and chills, dysuria (painful urination), dyspareunia (painful intercourse), abnormal menstrual bleeding associated with cramps, and general malaise and loss of appetite may indicate a PID.
Sexual encounters with a previously infected partner and promiscuity are the two major causes of PID.
If you experience any symptoms of PID, you should consult with your physician. Several physical examination methods, along with blood tests, vaginal/cervical cultures, and imaging studies are usually employed to make the diagnosis of PID.
Your doctor usually will start you and your partner on antibiotics while waiting for the test results. The antibiotics may then be adjusted depending on causative bacteria and sensitivity. Sever cases of PID may require a hospital stay and intravenous antibiotic treatment.
The most effective preventative measure of PID is safe sex. Stay in monogamous relations, use condoms, and make sure to speak with your partner about STD’s. In cases of an STD, immediate treatment and eradication therapy should be initiated. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), while treatable, may be associated with serious complication such as chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancies, and infertility.
If you should experience any symptoms of PID, or have been or suspect to have been exposed to STD’s, please contact you doctor for immediate evaluation and possible treatment in order to prevent future complications of PID.
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