Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)- Are you at risk of it?

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)- Are you at risk of it?

Pelvic inflammatory disease (or PID) is a common disease, which is mainly a bacterial infection. It affects the reproductive organs of the woman and sometimes causes a destructive effect on vaginal track. An extreme problem caused by the pelvic inflammatory disease is infertility in women.

The typical reason for this infection is none other than bacteria. But how do these bacteria make their way? Some medical researchers believe that it is a long-term side effect of a sexually transmitted disease.

For example, an untreated case of gonorrhea or chlamydia may end up causing pelvic inflammatory disease in the women. However, this is not the only source to get the pathogenic bacteria. Sometimes common infection like vaginosis can also turn worse and cause pelvic inflammatory disease.

The earliest signs of pelvic inflammatory disease are that the woman will feel a sharp pain in pelvic area. It may be sometimes misleading as period pain, but this is a different type of pain, which is not what hits typically any woman.

Other symptoms include painful sexual intercourse, fever, chills, irregular bleeding between periods and much more. It is treatable and more than that; it is easy to prevent pelvic inflammatory disease. Let’s know more about it in this article.

What do you mean by pelvic inflammatory disease?

You might have never heard of it or confuse it with the general pain of the pelvic area. In reality, pelvic inflammatory disease is a separate syndrome, which affects the female reproductive organs. The most common targets are fallopian tubes and ovaries.

The only way that you can reduce the damages of pelvic inflammatory disease is to seek immediate help. If it gets worse and spreads to the other parts, it may result in something destructive like permanent infertility.

It can also lead to ectopic pregnancies, which are a risky type of pregnancy, where the ovaries release an egg that fertilizes but couldn’t make it to the uterus. So the development takes place outside the uterus, and it is a very tricky situation for both mother and baby.

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What are the common signs and symptoms of the pelvic inflammatory disease?

The signs are not very obvious, and sometimes you can never differentiate between a symptom of the pelvic inflammatory disease and a familiar pain. The intensity of these signs varies from person to person. Rarely, there are entirely no symptoms of it.

It can go from mild to severe in less time. In severe form, the pain becomes unbearable. But despite all these effects, it is not impossible for a woman to feel these changes. These symptoms are sometimes more apparent and minor at the other times.

Contrary to this, some women only come to know that they are suffering from pelvic inflammatory disease when they are failed to conceive a baby. It may take up years for that.

Some of the common signs that you experience if you are suffering from the pelvic inflammatory disease are as follows.

  • Pain in the pelvic area, which is below the abdomen.
  • Swollen genital area.
  • Hypersensitive feeling on genitals.
  • Extremely painful sex
  • Irregularity and frequent in-between bleeding in periods.
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Painful stool passing
  • Burning urination
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue

What can pelvic inflammatory disease do to your body?

If you are considering it a minor infection, you are wrong. Pelvic inflammatory disease can cause a series of complications. Two of the severe outcomes, as already described are ectopic pregnancies and infertility.

More time that you live with the condition without treatment, more it gets worse. Ectopic pregnancy is life-threatening, and infertility may never get a cure. Some other outcomes of pelvic inflammatory disease are as follows.

  • Scar tissues on fallopian tubs
  • Scar tissues causing a blockage
  • A lifelong pelvic pain and inability to move.
  • Painful sex for a long time
  • Birth complications.

One of the primary reasons to get the pelvic inflammatory disease is the sexually transmitted infection. You should never ignore any STD if you ever get one. Some bacterial strains that are more likely to turn into pelvic inflammatory disease at any stage later are as follows.

  • Chlamydia trachomatis 
  • Neisseria gonorrhea
  • Mycoplasma genitalium
  • Vaginosis linked microorganisms i.e. anaerobic bacteria.

Risk factors for pelvic inflammatory disease

Some conditions increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease. It will have a higher chance if you have any of the following conditions.

  • If your age is between 25-35 years old.
  • If you have unprotected sex.
  • If you were already a victim of the pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • If you have bacterial vaginosis.
  • If you have multiple sexual partners to switch.
  • If you are using an IUD device for birth control.
  • If you have any urinary tract infection.
  • If you excessively smoke or drink.

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How would a doctor diagnose it?

If you make it to the doctor, he will do the necessary tests to ensure that you are suffering from pelvic inflammatory disease and nothing else. He may suggest these tests after speaking to you and listening to the symptoms that you will describe. These tests include the following.

  • Pelvic exam: A complete physical test to check any sign of visible inflammation.
  • Cervical culture test: A detailed analysis of bacterial strains of your cervix.
  • Urine tests: A set of tests for blood, cancer, pathogens and other signs.

After taking the samples, these will be sent to the laboratory for the complete analysis. You will get its report in a few days and on he basis of all the reports, your doctor will diagnose your disease.

If you are in a severe condition, the doctor will also check for damage assessment. It is done by internal tests, checking each organ in detail. As you know, fallopian tubes and ovaries are the prime targets of pelvic inflammatory disease; the doctor will perform specific tests such as.

  • Pelvic ultrasound: internal imaging using sound waves so that a blockage or scar is diagnosed.
  • Endometrial biopsy: examining the inner lining of the uterus for any possible infection.
  • Laparoscopy: The internal imaging of the abdomen using a camera.

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Is there a treatment for the pelvic inflammatory disease?

Pelvic inflammatory disease is 100% treatable. You only need to seek medical assistance on time and get it diagnosed by a qualified doctor. The doctor will give you an antibiotic along with analgesic for fever and pain.

Some options that you can be given by your doctor to treat pelvic inflammatory disease are;

  • Cephalosporin,
  • Clindamycin.
  • Gentamicin
  • Ampicillin and others.

If the causative agent is an anaerobic bacterial strain, the doctor will give more specific medication. There is no need to stay at a hospital when you are suffering from the pelvic inflammatory disease. If you are at a severe stage of it, you may need to get admitted to the hospital for proper administration.

As the Pelvic inflammatory disease is considered as an outcome of a sexually transmitted origin, the partner of the patient also needs treatment and check up. It is necessary for both partners to get the medical treatment or both of them can suffer. Also, there is a higher chance of re-emergence if they don’t get it treated on time.

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How to prevent pelvic inflammatory disease for future?

As you know, the pelvic inflammatory disease has a high risk to re-emerge in future. For this, you have to follow specific tips and lifestyle changes, which will reduce the chances for future. Some of these tips are as follows.

  • Practice safe sex so that you don’t get any STD.
  • Check for STD screening tests and make sure that you don’t have one, from time to time.
  • Take care of your hygiene and use hygiene products.
  • Take health supplements and probiotics to maintain your immunity.

Sources

  • https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/what-is-pelvic-inflammatory-disease
  • http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0891552013000676
  • http://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMra1411426
  • http://annals.org/aim/article/1906845/screening-gonorrhea-chlamydia-systematic-review-u-s-preventive-services-task

The author is a Medical Microbiologist and a healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health.

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