An Overview of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
The Plano, Frisco and Dallas, Texas area OBGYNs at Women’s Specialists of Plano put together this informational sheet on Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. They treat women—most commonly under the age of 35—who suffer from this gynecological disease. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, or PID as it is commonly referred to, is an uncomfortable and at times deadly disease that affects a small percentage of women during their childbearing years. The symptoms of PID can be painful and very uncomfortable. It’s important for women to understand what PID is, how it is transmitted, treated and what they can do to prevent themselves from getting it.
Q. What is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and other reproductive organs that is caused by the transmission of foreign bacteria. It is a potentially serious complication that can lead to damage of the reproductive organs, miscarriage, and infertility.
Q. How Common is PID?
It is estimated that approximately 750,000 women within the United States are affected by P.I.D. each year. It is most common among women with multiple sex partners, and least common among women in monogamous relationships. Women in their childbearing years (under the age 25) that are sexually active are at a higher risk of contracting PID than women over 25 years of age. A woman who has previously been diagnosed with PID is at a heightened risk of contracting the disease again.
Q. How Does a Woman Contract PID?
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is initiated when a foreign bacteria moves through the opening in a woman’s cervix and up into the reproductive organs. The disease can be contracted many different ways, but is most commonly caused by: The STD’s Gonorrhea and Chlamydia, Douching, and Intrauterine Devices.
Q. What are the Symptoms of PID?
PID commonly goes unnoticed in its early stages, even though it may be causing great damage to a woman’s reproductive organs. Common symptoms of PID as the disease progresses include:
- Lower abdominal pain
- Foul smelling discharge
- Pain during intercourse
- Irregular menstruation
If the disease is not found and treated promptly, PID can cause infertility, ectopic pregnancy, severe pain, and death.
Q. How is PID Treated?
Antibiotics are used to treat Pelvic Inflammatory Disease although they cannot reverse any damage that may have already taken place inside the female reproductive organs. In most cases the antibiotics will cure all symptoms associated with disease as long as the medication is taken as prescribed. If a woman is sexual active prior to being treated for PID the woman’s partner(s) should also be treated as they may also be infected with the bacteria, though they may not have symptoms.
A woman may have to receive inpatient treatment via the hospital is she is experiencing high fever, is pregnant, or is experiencing a tubal pregnancy as a result of PID.
Q. How Can Women Protect Themselves From PID?
The best answer to this question is to abstain from sexual intercourse, unless you are sure your partner is uninfected by any STD. It has been found that woman in a monogamous relationship are at a much lower risk of contracting the disease than those who have multiple partners. If abstinence is not an option for you, then it is important to make use of protection such as condoms. Condoms have been shown to help prevent the transmission of STDs though they are not 100% effective.
If a woman noticing any unusual symptoms (such as: irregular period, a genital sore, or foul smelling discharge) she should consult her OBGYN immediately. PID can be prevented if an STD can be treated before it causes serious complications.
And last but not least, any sexually active woman should be screened for STDs regularly and thoroughly.
To learn more about Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), or for more resources on symptoms of PID, please contact the Plano, Frisco and Dallas, Texas area office of Women’s Specialists of Plano.