Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)is a generic term for infection of the female uterus, fallopian tubes, and/or ovaries. PID is a common result of infection with sexually transmitted diseases.

In the United States, more than one million women are affected by PID each year, and the rate is highest among teenagers. Approximately 50,000 women become infertile in the US each year from PID [1]

The most common symptoms of PID are pain in the lower abdomen and abnormal vaginal discharge. Other symptoms that may sometimes be noticed include fever, painful intercourse, or irregular menstrual bleeding. It is important to note that PID can occur and cause serious harm without causing any noticeable symptoms.

Although the PID infection itself may be cured, effects of the infection may be permanent.

PID can cause scarring inside the reproductive organs, which can later cause serious complications, including chronic pelvic pain, difficulty becoming pregnant, ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy, which occurs when the fetus begins to grow in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. This can be fatal), and other dangerous complications of pregnancy.

Prevention methods include:

  • Using condoms
  • Going to the doctor immediately if symptoms of PID, sexually transmitted diseases appear, or after learning that a current or former sex partner has, or might have had, sexually transmitted disease
  • Getting regular gynecological (pelvic) exams to screen for symptomless PID

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