- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a serious complication of some sexually transmitted diseases(STDs).
- PID is a general name for infections of the womb, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.
- PID is common. Women can get PID if they have an STD (like chlamydia or gonorrhea) that isn’t treated.
- PID can be treated, and being treated promptly may reduce your chance of having complications from PID.
How can I find out if I have PID?
There’s no test for PID. Usually, a doctor will decide if you have it from your symptoms. The doctor can examine you and give you a test for chlamydia or gonorrhea. These common STDs often cause PID.
How do women get PID?
- PID is a complication of some STDs. You can get an STD by having sex with an infected partner.
- If you don’t treat the STD infection, it can spread. PID occurs when the infection gets into the womb and other organs that enable a woman to have children.
- Women who douche may have a higher risk of getting PID than women who do not douche. This is because douching causes harmful changes in the healthy bacteria that live in the vagina.
Who’s at risk for PID?
- Sexually active women of childbearing age are most at risk for PID. The more sex partners a woman has, the higher her risk of getting PID.
- Women who are 25 or younger are more likely to get PID than those older than 25.
- Women who douche may be at a higher risk for PID than women who don’t douche.
What are the symptoms of PID?
Very often, women (and their doctors) don’t realize that they have PID because the symptoms may be mild. Some women, however, have severe symptoms. You might notice:
- Pain in the lower abdomen.
- An unusual discharge from your vagina, with a bad odor.
- Pain when you have sexual intercourse.
- Bleeding between periods.
When should I be examined?
You should be examined by a doctor if:
- You have symptoms (like pain when you have sex or a smelly discharge from your vagina).
- You have bleeding between periods.
- Your partner has chlamydia, gonorrhea, or another STD.
- Your partner has symptoms that might be an STD (like burning or itching when passing urine or an unusual discharge).
HOW is PID treated?
- If PID is caught early, it can be treated effectively with antibiotics.
- Finish all of the medicine to be sure you are cured.
- Do not share your medicine with anyone. You need it all.
- If you still have symptoms after treatment, go back to see your doctor.
Can I get PID again after I’ve been treated?
Yes, you can get PID again if you are infected with an STD again. If you’ve had PID before, you have a higher chance of getting it again.
What happens if I don’t get treated?
- PID can cause scar tissue in the womb and other reproductive organs.
- The longer you delay treatment for PID, or the more times you get PID, the more likely it is that you won’t be able to get pregnant.
- After having PID, women who do get pregnant are more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy, where the egg grows outside the womb. This can cause severe pain, bleeding inside your body, and even death.
- PID can also cause chronic pain in the pelvic area.
If I have PID, what does that mean for my partner?
- Your partner may have an STD
- Be sure to tell your recent sex partners, so they can be tested and treated for STDs.
- Avoid having sex until you’ve both finished your treatment, so you don’t re-infect each other.
How can I lower my risk for PID?
- To prevent PID, avoid getting an STD.
- If you do have an STD, see a doctor and get it treated right away.
- The surest way to avoid getting an STD is not to have sex, or to have sex only with someone who’s not infected and who has sex only with you.
- Condoms can reduce your risk of getting some STDs if they are used the right way every single time you have sex.
- Washing the genitals, urinating, or douching after sex will not prevent any STD.
A message for everyone:
Protect yourself and your partner.
Always see a doctor if your partner is being treated for an STD. Also, see the doctor if you or your sex partner notice any symptoms, such as an unusual discharge.
If you have one STD, you should be tested for others. Be sure to tell your recent sex partners, so they can get tested too. Talk openly and honestly with your partner about STDs.
For more information:
- Talk with your doctor.
- Call 1-800-CDC-INFO.
- Visit www.cdc.gov/std/PID/STDFact-PID.htm.