Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

PID or pelvic inflammatory disease is an illness that pertains to the infection of the reproductive organs of the female body such as the fallopian tubes and the uterus. It could also include other parts that trigger symptoms such as lower abdominal pain. It is an acute irritation resulting from STDs like gonorrhea and Chlamydia. PID causes damage to the fallopian tubes and tissues inside and surrounding the ovaries and uterus. This disease can lead to grave outcome like infertility, abscess formation, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain.

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Causes of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease affects women when the bacteria enters the cervix or vagina of the woman and then goes to the reproductive organs. There are various organisms that can trigger PID but majority of the cases are linked with Chlamydia and gonorrhea, two of the most widely spread bacterial STDs.

Women who are sexually active during their years of childbearing are more exposed to the disease and those younger than 25 who frequently engage in sexual intercourse are more susceptible to PID. This is because the opening of the uterus of girls under the age of 25 has not fully matured. This increases the risk of STDs associated with pelvic inflammatory disease.

Women who have a lot of sex partners have a higher risk of acquiring the disease. The same is true for situations where the partner of the woman has multiple sex partners. In these cases, the possibility that the woman could be exposed to a variety of infectious agents is increased, thus, the probability of getting the disease is higher.

Furthermore, women who conduct vaginal douching are also at greater danger of acquiring PID compared to those who do not. Certain studies have noted that douching alters the equilibrium of vaginal flora or the organisms that live within the vagina. This imbalance could be harmful to the reproductive system’s health. Moreover, douching could push the harmful bacteria further into the vagina and other parts of the reproductive system. The same also applies to women who have IUD or intrauterine device inserted in them. Risk of PID is slightly greater around the time the device is inserted, as compared to those employing other means of contraceptive or not using any form of contraceptive at all. However, if the woman is evaluated for STD, and treated when there is a need, the risk of developing PID is lowered.

Symptoms of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

The symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease can either be mild or severe, depending on what the patient is experiencing. Some cases of PID manifest mild symptoms belying the fact that severe harm is already being done to the female’s reproductive organs. These types of cases are mostly caused by infection of Chlamydia. With Chlamydia, the fallopian tube may become infected without showing any signs at all. Because of the unclear symptoms that are not noticeable to majority of women, pelvic inflammatory disease could go on without being recognized by women nor diagnosed by medical professionals.

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The most common symptom of pelvic inflammatory disease is pain on the lower abdomen. Other indicators could also manifest, such as foul-smelling discharge, atypical vaginal discharge, fever, painful intercourse, pain felt during urination, menstrual bleeding that is irregular and pain on the abdomen on the upper right side. The last symptom occurs in rare cases, though.

Complications of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Suitable and on-time treatment is necessary in order to prevent the bacteria from infecting the upper part of the reproductive organs and causing complications and permanent damage. The bacteria that cause infections will covertly invade the fallopian tubes, turning normal tissues into scar tissues. These scar tissues can prevent or impede the normal progress of the egg from the ovary to the uterus. The scar tissues can totally obstruct the fallopian tubes which may make the woman infertile. When this happens, the egg cannot be fertilized by the sperm. Around ten to fifteen percent of the women infected with PID become infertile. When PID is recurring, there is higher probability that the woman will not be able to conceive.

PID also increases the risk for ectopic pregnancy. This occurs when the scar tissues partially damage or block the fallopian tube; hence, the fertilized egg could not proceed to the uterus and will plant itself within the walls of the fallopian tube. As the pregnancy progresses, the fallopian tube could be torn causing intense pain and internal bleeding. If not attended to promptly, ectopic pregnancy could cause infertility and even death. Chronic pelvic pain may also ensue due to scarring of the fallopian tubes. The pain usually lasts for several months to years.

Diagnosis of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

It is difficult to diagnose pelvic inflammatory disease due to its nonspecific and subtle symptoms. There are various cases of PID that go unnoticed because either the health care provider or the woman herself is unable to recognize the meaning of symptoms. Since there are no accurate tests for the PID, the diagnosis done is commonly based on clinical findings. For instance, if the symptom felt is pain in the lower abdomen, the doctor will conduct a physical examination in order to pinpoint the location and nature of the pain. They will also need to check for other symptoms associated with PID such as unusual cervical discharge, fever, confirmation linking to chlamydial or gonorrhea infection. If all findings point to PID, then treatment is required.

Treatment for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease can be treated with various antibiotics. The health care provider will ascertain and then prescribe the best remedy. But these remedies cannot reverse the damage already done by the disease to the reproductive organs. When a woman feels any of the symptoms related to PID, she should seek medical attention immediately. The antibiotics can kill the bacteria that cause harm to the reproductive organs. When treatment is not done right away, the possibility of becoming infertile or developing ectopic pregnancy in the future is high due to the damage done to the fallopian tubes.

Pelvic inflammatory disease can be surely prevented by abstaining from sexual intercourse or maintaining a monogamous relationship with a partner that has been tested for and proven to be uninfected with PID.

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