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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

If a female is experiencing the following symptoms, she should see a health care provider:

  • Abdominal pain that does not go away
  • Irregular vaginal bleeding
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Fever, nausea, vomiting

Given the long-term complications PID can cause, such as infertility and ectopic pregnancy, it is recommended that females seek immediate medical attention if they have any of these symptoms:

  • Lower abdominal pain or tenderness
  • Fever greater than 101 F (38.3 C)
  • Abnormal or foul-smelling vaginal discharge

Adult women with PID are either closely monitored or admitted to the hospital. More aggressive treatment may take place in the hospital for adolescent females, who are at a much higher risk of not following treatment plans and of having complications.

The person may be admitted to the hospital if any of the following occur:

  • The definitive diagnosis of the woman's abdominal/pelvic pain is unclear.
  • Ectopic pregnancy or appendicitis cannot be ruled out.
  • She is pregnant.
  • An abscess (a localized infection) is suspected. A tubo-ovarian abscess (TOA) is a type of disease seen frequently in PID. A tubo-ovarian abscess is a collection of bacteria, pus, and fluid (abscess) that occurs in the Fallopian tube and involves the ovary. It is most often seen in teens. A tubo-ovarian abscess is also more likely to occur in teens or adult women who use intrauterine devices (IUDs) as birth control. A teen girl with a tubo-ovarian abscess often looks sick, has a fever and pain that makes it difficult to walk. The abscess will be treated in the hospital withantibiotics by most physicians. Surgery may be needed to remove or drain the abscess.
  • The person is acutely ill or cannot manage their illness at home.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/10/2014

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Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an inflammatory disorder of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and adjacent pelvic structures.

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