Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, is an infection of your uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes. PID is usually caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. PID can cause scars in the fallopian tubes. This can make it hard for you to get pregnant in the future.

It’s important to take all the medicine that was prescribed. PID can cause serious health problems if you don't complete your treatment.

Having one STI increases your risk for other STIs. Examples include genital herpes, genital warts, syphilis, and HIV. It’s a good idea to start thinking now about how to prevent more STIs. Not having sex is the best way to prevent any STI.


What are the symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)?

The most common symptom of PID is pain in the lower belly. It's often described as cramping or a dull and constant ache. It may get worse during bowel movements, during sex, or when you urinate. You may also have a fever, more vaginal discharge than usual, or irregular menstrual bleeding.


How is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) diagnosed?

To diagnose PID, your doctor will ask about your lifestyle and symptoms. He or she will do a physical exam, including a pelvic exam. Your doctor may test you for the most common causes of PID, including chlamydia and gonorrhea. You may also have blood tests to look for signs of infection.

Your doctor may also order an ultrasound to see if there are other possible causes of your symptoms. An ultrasound may also show if there is damage to the fallopian tubes, uterus, or ovaries from PID.

The test results may take some time, so your doctor will treat you before the test results are ready. Treating PID early is important to prevent problems later on.


How is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) treated?

To treat PID, you will take antibiotics. Take them as directed. If you don't take all of the medicine, the infection may come back.

If your infection was caused by a sexually transmitted infection, your sex partner(s) will also need to be treated so you don't get infected again.

  • Do not have sex until both of you have finished your medicine.
  • See your doctor for follow-up to make sure that the treatment is working.

If you have a very bad case of PID or are also pregnant, you may need to stay in the hospital and get antibiotics through a vein (intravenous). Sometimes surgery is needed to drain a pocket of infection, or abscess.