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Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

PID; Oophoritis; Salpingitis; Salpingo-oophoritis; Salpingo-peritonitis

Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of a woman's womb (uterus), ovaries, or fallopian tubes.

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Pelvic laparoscopy
Female reproductive anatomy
Endometritis
Uterus

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Causes

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection caused by bacteria. When bacteria from the vagina or cervix travel to your womb, fallopian tubes, or ovaries they can cause an infection.

Most of the time, PID is caused by bacteria from chlamydia and gonorrhea. These are sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Having unprotected sex with someone who has an STI can cause PID.

Bacteria can also enter your body during a medical procedure such as:

In the United States, nearly 1 million women have PID each year. About 1 in 8 sexually active girls will have PID before age 20.

You are more likely to get PID if:

Symptoms

Common symptoms of PID include:

Other symptoms that may occur with PID:

You can have PID and not have any symptoms. For example, chlamydia can cause PID with no symptoms. Women who have an ectopic pregnancy or who are infertile often have PID caused by chlamydia. An ectopic pregnancy is when an egg grows outside of the uterus. It puts the mother's life in danger.

Exams and Tests

Your health care provider may do a pelvic exam to look for:

You may have lab tests to check for signs of infection:

Other tests include:

Treatment

Your provider will often have you start taking antibiotics while waiting for your test results.

If you have mild PID:

If you have more severe PID:

There are many different antibiotics that can treat PID. Some are safe for pregnant women. Which type you take depends on the cause of the infection. You may receive a different treatment if you have gonorrhea or chlamydia.

If your PID is caused by an STI like gonorrhea or chlamydia, your sexual partner must be treated as well.

Possible Complications

PID infections can cause scarring of the pelvic organs. This can lead to:

If you have a serious infection that does not improve with antibiotics, you may need surgery.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if:

Prevention

Get prompt treatment for STIs.

You can prevent PID by practicing safe sex.

Here is how you can reduce your risk of PID:

Related Information

Endometritis
Chlamydia
Intrauterine
Abortion - surgical
Miscarriage
Endometrial biopsy
Ectropion
Ectopic pregnancy
Infertility
In vitro fertilization (IVF)
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome

References

Birnbaumer DM. Sexually transmitted diseases. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 98.

Meyers D, Wolff T, Gregory K, et al. USPSTF recommendations for STI screening. Am Fam Physician. 2008;77:819-24. PMID: 18386598 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18386598.

Workowski KA, Berman S; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2015. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2015;64(RR-03):1-137. PMID: 26042815 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26042815.

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Review Date: 9/26/2015  

Reviewed By: Daniel N. Sacks MD, FACOG, Obstetrics & Gynecology in Private Practice, West Palm Beach, FL. Review Provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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