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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (cont.)

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Prevention

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 PID.
  • 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 infections.
    • 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 seeking medical care. Douches are not recommended; the vagina cleans itself naturally. Regular showers and baths are enough to keep the body clean.
    • 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 care practitioner.

As in other sexually transmitted diseases, education about prevention techniques is a way to reduce the chance of getting PID.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/9/2015

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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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