Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection that involves female reproductive organs and adjacent pelvic structures causing inflammation. Pain due to PID is a common complaint and a serious condition that requires immediate medical intervention.
- Location of pain
- Character of pain
- Risk factors
- When to consult a doctor?
Location of pain
Pain due to Pelvic inflammatory disease usually occurs in just the lower abdomen and pelvic area but depends upon the extent of inflammation and organs affected by it.
Character of pain
Pain due to pelvic inflammatory disease ranges from dull to intense and cramping.
Pelvic inflammatory disease often goes unrecognized as the signs and symptoms begin to develop once the inflammation has properly established. Some females don’t experience any signs or symptoms and only become aware of PID when they face trouble getting pregnant. On the other hand, women who have symptoms can experience:
- Pain in the lower and upper abdomen
- Painful urination
- Dyspareunia that is pain during sex
- Vaginal discharge that stinks
- Vomiting and nausea
- High-grade fever
- Dizziness and lethargy
- Irregular and intermenstrual bleeding
- Heavy periods
Pelvic inflammatory disease is usually caused by sexually transmitted infections that travel up in the genital tract. Bacteria in sexually transmitted diseases usually inhabit the lower genital tract but sometimes long-standing infections may result in retrograde traveling of infection which spreads to involve reproductive and pelvic organs.
A female can also develop PID without ever having any sexually transmitted disease, This may happen when a female has recently had an introduced inserted for contraception, all went for douching. The PID may become a life-threatening condition if this infection involves your blood thus requires immediate medical attention.
These are some conditions that increase your risk of getting the PID:
- Having sex without a condom
- Females with multiple sex partners
- Having a sexual partner who has several sexual partners
- Females with a history of PID
- Women under the age of 25
- Douching on a regular basis
The most common and serious complication of pelvic inflammatory disease is Infertility. Some others are:
- Chronic pelvic pain that lasts as long as 2 to 3 years
- Formation of abscesses in the reproductive tract
- Sepsis, which is life-threatening
- Ectopic pregnancy due to formation of scar tissue in fallopian tubes in case of long-standing PID.
Diagnosis is made by your doctor after taking a detailed history of your signs and symptoms and regarding your sexual activity followed by running a number of tests:
- Blood and urine tests to find out markers of infection and inflammation.
- High vaginal swab to confirm STD.
- Laparoscopy and endometrial biopsy are done in chronic cases and when widespread damage is suspected.
- PID can be easily prevented by taking a few safety measures:
- Females with multiple sexual partners should always use condoms.
- Get regular testing done if you are at risk of developing a sexually transmitted disease.
- Request your partner to be tested and treated if they have a suspicion of STI.
- Use other methods of contraception instead of Douching, as it upsets the vaginal PH and favors bacterial growth.
- Prompt treatment for pelvic inflammatory diseases required to avoid scarring of the reproductive tract. These include:
- Antibiotics to treat the infection
- Over the counter painkillers for pain relief
- Antipyretic for fever
- Surgery if the infection does not respond to treatment.
When to consult a doctor?
If you are at risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease or sexually transmitted infection and you develop any of the above-mentioned same symptoms, you should immediately consult a doctor and get proper treatment. In case of a positive diagnosis, you should request your partner to be e tested and treated as well before continuing any kind of sexual practices.
Only rarely pelvic inflammatory disease resolves itself. Most of the time, patients require medical treatment for complete relief.
Pelvic inflammatory disease is a disease of female reproductive organs and only affects females. However, sexually transmitted diseases which are the main cause of PID can also affect males.
Vaginal discharge is copious in quantity and is usually yellow or green with a strong foul-smelling odor.