Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the upper female reproductive system that impacts the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus. Although there are many possible causes of PID, most cases are triggered by the bacteria responsible for certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including gonorrhea and chlamydia.
Other ways bacteria can end up in the reproductive system include retrograde menstruation, surgery, abortion, and childbirth.
Once the harmful bacteria enter the vagina, they inflame the mucous membrane, causing scarring inside the upper reproductive system. Left untreated, PID can lead to uncomfortable symptoms and long-term complications.
Read on as our expert team at Eve Medical of Miami explains how PID manifests itself, what kind of complications it can cause, and why proper diagnosis and treatment are so important.
PID symptoms and risk factors
Not all women experience symptoms, but those who do often complain about pain in the pelvic area, abnormal discharge from the vagina, painful intercourse, and a high fever.
Risk factors for PID include douching on a regular basis, having unprotected intercourse, engaging in sex with multiple partners, and having a partner who has multiple partners.
Complications associated with PID
Left untreated, PID can lead to fluid retention in the fallopian tubes, scarring, chronic pain, and fertility issues. It can also lead to a higher risk for ectopic pregnancy. This is a pregnancy that occurs outside the womb and is fatal for the fetus. A rare but life-threatening complication of PID is an abscess in the fallopian tubes, which can rupture.
PID diagnosis and treatment
PID is often diagnosed with a simple pelvic exam, and also by assessing any symptoms that the patient may be experiencing.
But while there isn’t one single test that can diagnose PID, there are tests that can help rule out other possible causes for your symptoms. These tests include:
- Smear tests of your vaginal discharge to detect harmful bacteria
- Blood screening and urine tests to look for infections
- Vaginal exam to check for pain or inflammation in your cervix
- Ultrasound exam to check for abscesses inside your ovaries
Treatment includes antibiotics to kill harmful bacteria. Your course of antibiotics begins with an injection at our office, and continues with an oral antibiotic prescription for a couple of weeks. If you’re in pain, our specialist may also prescribe a noninflammatory pain reliever.
PID is relatively easy to diagnose and treat. However, because it doesn’t always have obvious symptoms, it can silently cause complications and damage your reproductive organs for a long time before you experience discomfort.
If you’re sexually active, get peace of mind by scheduling a visit with us. Our team of board-certified gynecologists can get to the bottom of any worrisome symptoms, including pelvic pain, painful intercourse, and abnormal vaginal discharge.
Call our Miami, Florida office at 305-707-6096 today, or use our easy online booking feature to make an appointment any time.