Causes of PID
PID occurs when bacteria move from the vagina or cervix up into the upper internal female reproductive organs. the most common cause of PID is exposure to a sexually transmitted disease (STD), usually gonorrhea or chlamydia. These diseases are passed on during sexual intercourse and are spread to the cervix during sex. that when the cervix becomes infected with gonorrhea or chlamydia, these bacteria can spread through the cervix into the reproductive organs.
Although exposure to gonorrhea or chlamydia is the most common cause of PID, causes could be:
* Normal bacteria in the vagina spreading to reproductive organs and abdomen with no known cause
* Infection after certain surgical procedures like "D & C" (dilatation and curettage)
* After the cervix is treated due to an abnormal Pap test
* When disease-causing bacteria organisms migrate into the female reproductive organs for any reason
The presence of bacterial vaginosis (BV) can increase a woman's risk of developing PID. Women who perform vaginal douching have a greater risk of PID also.
Symptoms of PID
A woman with PID may experience no symptoms, severe symptoms or anything in-between. up to two-thirds of cases of PID are overlooked by both women and their healthcare providers or have a delayed diagnosis because of vague or mild symptoms, particularly if it is caused by chlamydia. The symptoms of PID can vary widely from person to person, but can include:
* lower abdominal pain or tenderness in abdomen
* pain or tenderness during pelvic exam when the cervix is touched
* unusual vaginal discharge, usually yellow or green, that may have a foul odor
* irregular menstrual bleeding
* fever with or without nausea or vomiting
* pain during intercourse
How is PID diagnosed?
diagnosis can be difficult because the symptoms may be subtle, vague or mild. There are no specific tests for PID so diagnosis is usually based on a detailed health history, physical exam, blood tests and sometimes various cultures (a swab of fluid that is tested for infection). Pelvic ultrasound or other diagnostic procedures may also be used.
that no over-the-counter treatment is available for PID. If a woman has symptoms or has been exposed to an STD, she should see her healthcare provider right away, because waiting even a few days can cause the infection to spread, causing more pain or internal damage. If a woman is very sick, pregnant or has an HIV infection she will usually be hospitalized. the most common treatments for PID will include:
* at least two antibiotics
* follow-up visit with healthcare provider 2-3 days after treatment is started
* long-term follow-up and other treatment as necessary to treat complications
A woman may feel better very soon after starting antibiotics, but it is critical that all prescribed medicine is taken, even if the symptoms go away before the medicine is finished. Even when symptoms are gone or improved, the antibiotics still have work to do so the infection is treated completely and eliminated. Stopping medicine early may mean that the same medicine won't be effective in the future, if bacteria develop resistance.
PID can be cured with antibiotics, but the longer women delay treatment, the more likely they are to develop severe or long-term complications like infertility or ectopic (tubal) pregnancy. Antibiotics will not reverse damage that has already occurred. recommends treatment of the husband, even if the husband has no symptoms, to lower the woman's risk of becoming infected again.
Complications of PID
early and complete treatment can help prevent possible long-term complications of PID, including:
* permanent damage to internal organs which sometimes requires surgery
* infertility due to scar tissue and adhesions
* tubal (ectopic) pregnancy due to scar tissue
* pain for months or years
* increased risk of future episodes of PID if exposed to STD's
Each episode of PID places a woman at more risk of damage and other complications.
Can PID be prevented?
women can play a very active role in preventing PID. Any symptoms should be reported quickly to her healthcare provider, as early treatment of infection can prevent development of PID. CDC states that the main cause of PID is an untreated STD, so women can protect themselves by getting early treatment and decreasing their risk of exposure to an STD by abstaining from sex or having sex only with their uninfected spouse.