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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Reproductive Tract Infections

Type of Infection: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) can be caused by varying combinations of the bacteria that cause Gonorrhea (N. gonorrhoeae), Chlamydia (C. trachomatis), various naturally occurring bacteria, and bacterial vaginosis (such as Mycoplasma hominis), and a variety of other microbial agents. Often PID is caused by more than one microbe.

Modes of Transmission for STD: Gonorrhea and chlamydia may lead to PID inflammation, which makes the tubes susceptible to the disease. PID is more likely in women who have had multiple sex partners or a history of PID or is in the first 5 to 10 days of her menstrual cycle.

Prevalence of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: PID accounts for nearly 180,000 hospitalizations every year in the United States. More than 1 million episodes occur each year. One in 7 US women of reproductive age have received treatment for PID.

Symptoms of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: Many women with pelvic inflammatory disease have atypical or no symptoms. Women may have pain and tenderness in the lower abdomen, cervix, or uterus, occasionally with fever and chills.

Treatment of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: PID can be treated successfully with antibiotics. Because it is often not known exactly what type of microbe caused the PID, doctors will typically use treatment regimens that are active against the broadest possible range of diseases.

Possible Consequences of PID for the Infected Person: PID can result in potentially life-threatening complications, including ectopic (tubal) pregnancy and pelvic abscess. Other problems include infertility, recurrent or chronic PID, permanent abdominal pain, premature hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), and major depression. About one in ten women with PID becomes infertile, and if a woman has PID more than once, her chances of becoming infertile are even higher.


Factiod about PID: The more sex partners a woman has, the greater her risk of developing PID, especially if she is under age 25. Waiting until marriage for sex, and then being mutually faithful, will reduce the risk of PID by making STD infection less likely.

Prevention of PID: Women can protect themselves from pelvic inflammatory disease by prevent STD. The best way to avoid transmission of STDs is to abstain from sexual intercourse, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected. Latex male condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the risk of transmission of chlamydia and gonorrhea, but are not 100% effective.

Source of Information: JM Marrazzo, F Guest, W Cates, "Reproductive Tract Infections," In Hatcher et al, Contraceptive Technology, Ardent Media, 2007.