What is PID?
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which affects about 1 million women and young girls in the United States each year, is an infection of the reproductive organs (uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix or ovaries), and is most often caused by untreated or chronic sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as Chlamydia or gonorrhea. Left untreated, PID can result in infertility, chronic pain and pregnancy complications.
- Lower abdominal pain
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Painful intercourse
- Painful urination
- Fever (in severe cases)
- Vomiting and/or nausea (in severe cases)
However, many girls and women may experience mild symptoms or no symptoms at all especially if PID is caused by Chlamydia.
If your doctor suspects PID, he or she will perform a pelvic exam, blood work and obtain vaginal secretions to check for infections. An ultrasound of the abdomen may be helpful too.
When to Call for Help
In the presence of any of the above symptoms or after unprotected sex
Severe PID requires hospitalization. Mild and moderate cases are treated on outpatient basis. To treat PID, the underlying infection must be eliminated. This is usually achieved with a two-week course of antibiotics. It is critical that therapy is initiated promptly to prevent damage to the reproductive organs. Antibiotics cannot reverse damage once it has aoccurred.
Typically, the patient will be asked to return for a follow-up within 48 to 72 hours after diagnosis while on antibiotics to ensure the medications are working. The patient should not have intercourse while treated. Her partner must be treated as well even if he has no symptoms.
Who Treats PID?
At Hopkins Children’s, PID is treated by the division of Adolescent Medicine.