Pelvic inflammatory disease is a condition that occurs when untreated sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea remain untreated and they spread to the reproductive organs, the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries; other infections that are not sexually transmitted may also result in PID developing.
The risk of developing PID is increased if you:
PID is a common condition that largely affects women who are sexually active and are aged between 15 and 24 years
Symptoms of PID may be mild and some women do not experience any signs or symptoms, however, if a woman does experience symptoms they are likely to be one or more of the following:
Some women may experience severe symptoms and become very unwell with:
It is important that if you experience any of the symptoms above that you seek the help of your GP. If the symptoms are severe it may be advisable to visit your nearest hospital emergency department
As discussed above, pelvic inflammatory disease can develop as a result of infections in the uterus or cervix spreading to the upper reproductive tract and causing infection of the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. Infections that can spread are sexually transmitted infections although other types of bacteria such as those found normally living in the vagina can also spread and result in PID
There are no specific tests for PID and diagnosis is therefore based on a number of physical observations and a pelvic examination alongside your medical history.
The pelvic examination is likely to be uncomfortable if you have contracted PID; swabs will be taken from the vagina and cervix which will be sent away and tested for infection. The infection will be identified so that it can be treated specifically. Many women have swabs that are tested as negative but this does not rule out a diagnosis of PID
Other tests may be considered to establish if there is an infection or inflammation present. These would include:
You may not be aware that you have PID if you do not experience any symptoms but if you do have at least one of the symptoms it is advisable to seek the advice of a medical professional
If found in its early stages, PID can be treated with a course of antibiotics. The antibiotics you will be given will likely be a mixture to cover the infections that are most likely to be causing the disease; often an injection, as well as tablets, will be given
It is important that sexual contact is avoided during your treatment and that your sexual partner is tested and treated for any STI that may be present
If the presence of PID is recognised and treated early enough then complications will not necessarily arise. The longer it is left untreated however the more likely it is for complications to occur.
Complications can include:
Tests for seven STIs
Urine or swab test
Urine or swab test
Blood test for four STIs
Designed for men who have sex with men