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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease - Overview

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female reproductive system including the womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries. PID is a common condition.

Symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Often, PID does not cause any obvious symptoms. Most symptoms are mild and can include:
  • Pain around the lower tummy or pelvis
  • Pain or discomfort during sex felt deep inside the pelvis
  • Pain when urinating
  • Heavy periods
  • Painful periods
  • Bleeding between periods and after sex
  • Unusual vaginal discharge, especially if green, yellow or smelly
A small number of people experience:
  • A high temperature (fever)
  • Feeling naseous or vomiting
  • Sever pain in the tummy
You should contact a specialist if you experience any of these symptoms.

If you have severe pain, please seek urgent medical attention from your GP or local A&E department.

The longer you wait for treatment for PID the higher chance you have of developing serious long-term complications. Having repeated episodes of PID also increases your risk.
Find out more about PID:
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Diagnosis for pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

There is no simple test that can check for PID. Your specialist will diagnose you based on your symptoms and whether there is any tenderness during a vaginal examination. Swabs will also be taken from your vagina and the neck of the cervix (womb), but negative swabs do not rule out PID.

Treatment for pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

If diagnosed early enough, a course of antibiotics, usually lasting around 14 days, can treat PID. This will include a mixture of antibiotics to cover most possible infections. You will often require an injection as well as tablets.

It is important to complete the whole course of antibiotics and to avoid having sexual intercourse during this period to ensure the infection clears.

Your recent sexual partners will also need to be tested and treated to stop the infection recurring or spreading to others.

Complications

If the fallopian tubes are affected by PID then they can become scarred or narrowed. This can cause issues with fertility by making it difficult for the eggs to pass from the ovaries into the womb. This increases the risk of having an ectopic pregnancy in the future (pregnancy within the fallopian tubes).

Some people can become infertile as a result of pelvic inflammatory disease. This is more likely if you have had delayed treatment or repeated episodes of PID.

Most people who are treated for PID will still be able to get pregnant without any issues.

Preventing pelvic inflammatory disease

The best way to reduce your risk of PID is by always using condoms during sexual intercourse unless your partner has had a sexual health check. Chlamydia is very common in young men and most do not have any symptoms.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease - Specialists

Dr Mamta Pathak

Dr Mamta Pathak

Consultant Gynaecologist

Dr Mamta specialises in office Gynaecology consultations and procedures, having helped to establish and develop the office Gynaecology department in the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals.

Office Gynaecological procedures have made a significant clinical impact by removing the need for general anaesthesia, thereby allowing for a quick recovery following treatment.

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