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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (cont.)

Prevention

You can prevent pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) by using condoms. This helps protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that cause PID.

If you have had chlamydia (a common cause of PID) one time in the past, you might now be more sensitive to this bacteria. A second chlamydia infection can cause more irritation and pelvic organ damage that is worse than before. For this reason, it's very important that you use condoms to avoid being exposed to STIs. After having had PID, using a condom every time you have sex lowers your risk of recurrent PID and ongoing (chronic) pelvic pain.

Practice safe sex

Preventing an STI is easier than treating an infection after it occurs. Abstaining from sexual contact is the only certain way to avoid exposure to STIs. Consistent condom use will greatly reduce your risk of an STI infection that can lead to PID. Even if you are using another birth control method to prevent pregnancy, use condoms to reduce infection risk.

  • Talk with your partner about STIs before beginning a sexual relationship. Find out whether he or she is at risk for an STI. Remember that most STIs, like chlamydia and herpes, can infect you without causing symptoms, so only test results can tell whether your partner is infection-free. Some STIs, such as HIV, can take up to 6 months before they can be detected in the blood.
  • Be responsible.
    • Avoid sexual contact if you have symptoms of an STI or are being treated for an STI.
    • Avoid all intimate sexual contact with anyone who has symptoms of an STI or who may have been exposed to an STI.
  • Don't have more than one sex partner at a time. Your risk for an STI increases if you have several sex partners at the same time.

Condom use

Use a condom every time you have sex. This lowers your risk of getting an STI or PID. You must put on a condom before beginning any sexual contact. Use condoms with a new partner until you are certain he or she does not have an STI.

You can use a male or female condom. A female condom is a good option for a woman whose partner does not have or will not use a male condom. For information about male and female condoms, see how to use a condom.

Douching

Avoid douching, which increases your risk for vaginal and pelvic infections.

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