Heard of pelvic inflammatory disease but not sure what it is? This guide has you covered. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a serious infection that leads to chronic pain and infertility. It is often an offshoot of untreated or unmanaged sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or infections. If you suffer from painful periods, abdominal pain, fever and chills, fatigue, foul-smelling discharge or pain during intercourse, you might be affected by the condition. This guide breaks it down.
PID is an infection of the female reproductive organs. It is typically triggered by the invasion of sexually transmitted bacteria through the vagina, into the uterus, ovaries or fallopian tubes. The condition usually presents no symptoms, so you may not realise until much later that you need treatment. Left untreated, PID can snowball into infertility and chronic pelvic pain.
PID is generally attributed to two primary STDs: chlamydia and gonorrhoea, both of which can be cured with antibiotics. Other potential causes of PID include untreated infections like bacterial vaginosis.
Early stages of PID present mild symptoms that can be difficult to read. Most women only discover they’ve contracted the disease once it develops into its later stages, by which time the symptoms are more pronounced. PID symptoms include:
PID can be tricky to self-diagnose, presenting symptoms that can be mistaken for those of other health problems like endometriosis or appendicitis. Without timely treatment, PID can spread and wreak life-threatening havoc on your body. It can increase the risk of a future ectopic pregnancy, infertility and pelvic scarring. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, it’s wise to see a doctor, pronto.
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Treatment for PID usually involves antibiotics and re-infection prevention measures, both highlighted below.
Antibiotics are potent in treating PID, and your doctor may prescribe you a combination of medications tailored to your condition. Through your treatment course, you will be asked to come in for regular checkups to ensure you are making steady progress.
While antibiotics can’t reverse existing damage caused by PID, they can arrest potential future complications arising from the condition.
If you’re diagnosed with PID, your partner may be recommended an evaluation for STDs. Treating STDs at their root can prevent you from developing PID in the future. You may also be advised abstinence from sexual intercourse until you and your partner’s treatment plans are complete.
Being diagnosed with PID isn’t the end of the world, so if you suspect you have the condition, seek solace in knowing that you can bid it farewell by seeking medical intervention. It’s up to you to take the first step.
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