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

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a serious infection in the upper genital tract or in reproductive organs (uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries) of a female. The uterus, fallopian tubes, and other areas of a woman’s upper genital tract become infected and inflamed causing pain, swelling, fever, and scarring. Although rare, a woman can develop PID without having an STD. No one is sure why this happens, but normal bacteria found in the vagina and on the cervix can cause PID.

Causes

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is most likely to occur between the ages of 15 and 25, in sexually active women. In many cases the cause is a germ (microbe) which is transmitted sexually. Sometimes, however it comes as a result of spread of an infection, in the blood stream, from other parts of the body. The most common causes of PID are chlamydia and gonorrhea, although other types of bacteria also play a role. PID is one of the leading causes of infertility in women. An ectopic pregnancy can cause internal bleeding and even death. Scar tissue may also develop elsewhere in your abdomen and cause pelvic pain that can last for months or years. Women who have an intrauterine device (IUD) may be at a slightly greater risk of PID than women who use other types of birth control. But this risk is greatly lowered when women are tested and treated for any infections before getting an IUD.

Symptoms

The symptoms of PID vary from woman to woman, and some women have no obvious symptoms at all. When symptoms are present, they may include:

* dull pain in the lower abdomen (on one side or both) that may get worse when you walk or move about
* pain during or after sex
* bleeding between periods or after sex
* lower back pain (either dull or sharp)
* a sense of pressure or swelling in the lower abdomen
* fever (often with chills)
* feeling tired or unwell
* abnormal vaginal discharge
* nausea, vomiting and dizziness
* leg pain
* increased period pain
* increased pain at ovulation
* burning or pain when urinating

Treatment

PID is a serious condition and requires immediate medical attention. If you are experiencing pelvic pain or symptoms you should see your gynecologist immediately.

If PID is found and it hasn’t progressed to a stage severe enough to require major reconstructive surgery to repair the fallopian tubes, antibiotic therapy may be tried. Floxin is now approved by the FDA as the first oral medication approved for independent use to treat pelvic inflammatory disease.

Laparoscopy is a minor surgical procedure in which a thin, flexible tube with a lighted end (laparoscope) is inserted through a small incision in the lower abdomen. This procedure enables the doctor to view the internal pelvic organs and to take specimens for laboratory studies, if needed.