Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection in a woman’s reproductive organs (vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries). It is a complication usually caused by an STI such as chlamydia or gonorrhea or other infection that is not sexually transmitted.

Symptoms of PID

  • Pain in your lower abdomen
  • Fever
  • Unusual discharge/foul odor from vagina
  • Pain/bleeding with sex
  • Burning when urinating
  • Bleeding in between periods

If you notice any of these symptoms, visit your health care provider as soon as possible.

PID is more likely in the following situations:

  • If you have an STI and do not get treated
  • If you have more than one sexual partner
  • If your partner has more partners than just you
  • If you’ve been diagnosed with PID before
  • If you douche
  • If you use an IUD (intrauterine device) for birth control (risk increased in first 3 months of IUD insertion)

How can I reduce my risk for PID?

If sexually active, risk is reduced when in a long term, mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has tested negative for STIs. It is also important to properly use a latex condom with every episode of intercourse.

If you are having symptoms of an STI, been exposed to an STI, or are sexually active and not in a monogamous relationship, it is important to see a health care provider for testing. A discussion with your provider can explore ways to have a healthy sexual relationship and reduce risks for infection.

What is the treatment for PID?

There is treatment for PID, and for most of the STIs that can lead to PID. However, if an infection has been present and untreated for a long time, it is possible that the damage caused cannot be reversed. This damage may lead to scar tissue in the reproductive organs which can lead to the following complications:

  • Scar tissue in or around the fallopian tubes that can lead to tubal blockage and infertility
  • Ectopic pregnancy (outside the uterus)
  • Long-term pelvic/abdominal pain

Please call the health center if you have any concerns for an appointment to discuss any of your concerns.

CDC Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)