While pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) does involve inflammation of the pelvic region – including your tender reproductive organs – it’s also true the disease is usually the result of STDs gone undiagnosed. In addition to infection, PID involves inflammation – and possible scarring – of the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and/or the cervix.
If left unchecked and untreated, PID can cause scarring that leads to infertility issues down the road. For this reason, it’s very important that women participate in their annual well-woman exam and are honest with their OB/GYN. While some patients experience symptoms of PID, others do not, which makes your annual exam that much more important.
It’s also imperative that you use a condom and/or dental dam when having sex outside of a monogamous relationship.
What Are the Symptoms of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)?
The symptoms of PID can be quite generalized or vague, which is why it’s so important to be your own, strongest advocate. Always listen to your body and if you notice any of the following, do schedule an appointment to have it checked out.
Some of the things you should pay attention to include:
- Unexplained fever
- Bleeding in between periods or irregular periods
- Pain in the upper-right abdomen
- Pelvic pain or discomfort
- Pain or discomfort during intercourse
- Painful bowel movements
- Pain or discomfort when you urinate
- Difficulty conceiving
This is one reason why we don’t recommend that young women purchase AZO or other over-the-counter, urinary pain relief – you could be masking the only clue you/we of your PID. After a few days, the pain might fade, but PID can live on and continue wreaking havoc!
The great news is that if diagnosed, your PID can be cleared up with a simple course of antibiotics.
How Would I Get PID In the First Place?
First, there’s nothing embarrassing or wrong with you because you have PID. In fact, it’s quite common. Currently, the CDC reports more than 1 million women in the U.S. get pelvic inflammatory disease every year.
The large majority of PID cases are the result of STDs – namely chlamydia and gonorrhea, but other bacterial infections can cause it as well. Once we’ve cultured and identified the bacteria behind PID, we’ll prescribe am appropriate antibiotic, as well as a follow-up visit, and that should do the trick.
You are at risk for getting PID if you:
- Have a history of STDs, especially chlamydia and/or gonorrhea
- Have had PID in the past
- Are young (most women with PID are 25-years or younger)
- Have multiple sex partners
- Are having unprotected sex with someone who’s had or has multiple partners
- Have had an IUD inserted in the past 4-months and have multiple sex partners
I Can’t Have PID if I’m in a Monogamous Relationship, Right?
Unfortunately, women can get PID if they’re in a monogamous relationship. Chlamydia and gonorrhea can be asymptomatic – meaning the person who has them never experiences symptoms. If your partner has either of these STDs and doesn’t know it, you can contract it from him/her, and wind up with PID.
We recommend new couples get STD screening together – it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Are you due for your annual exam? Have you experienced symptoms of PID in the past? Schedule a consultation with Overlake and our compassionate team of care providers will take good care of you.