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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (cont.)

What Causes Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?

Pelvic inflammatory disease is most frequently caused by bacteria that are transmitted through sexual contact and other bodily secretions. Bacteria that cause gonorrhea and chlamydia cause more than half of cases. Many studies suggest that a number of patients with PID and other sexually transmitted diseases are often infected with two or more infectious agents, and commonly these are Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Other organisms can also cause PID but are much less common.

What Are the Symptoms of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?

If a woman has PID, she may have any of these symptoms:

Symptoms not related to the female reproductive organs include fever, nausea, and vomiting.

PID symptoms may be worse at the end of a menstrual period and during the first several days following a period.

When Should I Call a Doctor About Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?

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

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 with antibiotics in the hospital 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 11/21/2017

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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease »

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

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