Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (cont.)
The following steps may be taken to avoid pelvic inflammatory disease or to
keep PID from becoming worse:
- Practice safe sex: if people choose to have sexual intercourse, they should
use barrier devices such as a latex condom. Use only water-based lubricants with
condoms. For oral sex, use a device called a dental dam. It's a rubbery device
a person places over the opening of the vagina before having oral sex. As an
alternative, a person can cut an unlubricated male condom open and place it over
the opening to the vagina. However, no barrier devices are 100% effective (in
either birth control or preventing PID); for some people, the choice is not to
have sexual relations.
- Birth control pills and intrauterine devices do not prevent PID. Recently
inserted intrauterine devices (IUDs), in fact, may increase the risk of getting
- STD treatment: Sexual partners need to be treated if the person is diagnosed with a
bacterial infection such as a sexually transmitted disease. The individual may
become reinfected if this is not done; in addition, the sexual partner may
become ill also.
- Individuals should limit the number of sexual partners and avoid high-risk
partners (for example, those that do not use condoms) to reduce the chance of
- If people are at risk for PID (for example, individuals that have multiple
partners and earn money from sexual encounters), they should have regular tests
for sexually transmitted diseases done.
- Frequent vaginal douching is a potential risk factor for PID. Douching may
push bacteria into the upper genital tract. Douching also may ease discharge
caused by an infection, so women may not think they have symptoms and may delay
the person from seeking medical care. Douches are not recommended; the vagina
cleans itself naturally. Regular showers and baths are enough to keep the body
- Wipe from front to back after a bowel movement. This keeps bacteria from
entering the vagina.
- If a person has vaginal itching, do not scratch. Wash with water only,
use no potentially irritating soaps and discuss the symptoms with a health
As in other sexually transmitted diseases, education about prevention
techniques is a way to reduce the chance of getting PID.
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