Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or Vaginal Infections

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection that affects the female reproductive organs. PID occurs when bacteria move from the vagina and cervix upward into the uterus, ovaries or fallopian tubes. The bacteria can lead to an abscess in a fallopian tube or ovary.

The main cause of PID is two STI's: gonorrhea and chlamydia. These STI's may cause vague symptoms or even no symptoms in a woman. If left untreated, PID can lead to serious, long-term problems such as:
  • Infertility: One in ten women with PID is infertile due to scarring of the fallopian tubes.
  • Ectopic pregnancy: Again scarring from PID can prevent a fertilized egg from moving into the uterus, causing it to instead begin growing in the fallopian tube. The tube may rupture and cause life-threatening bleeding in the abdomen and pelvis.
  • Chronic pelvic pain: pain in the pelvic area that lasts for 6 months or more.

PID can occur at any age in women who are sexually active. Major risk factors include:
  • Infection with an STI, usually gonorrhea or chlamydia
  • Multiple sex partners
  • Past PID
  • Frequent users of douching

Some women with PID have only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Some of the most common symptoms of PID are:
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Pain in the upper right abdomen
  • Abnormal menstrual bleeding
  • Fever and chills
  • Painful urination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Painful sexual intercourse

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