An Overview of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)


1. Definition

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease which is also known as PID can be simply defined as an infection of the female reproductive organs.

It is a relatively common condition in women ,especially  those in the reproductive phase. (14 years to 40years).

Over in the US, for example, more than 200,000  cases occur per year.

The stats from Nigeria  will be on the high side expectedly .

There is need to educate women on this disease,  which can be prevented.

2. So how does it spread?
PID spreads by sexual contact mostly without the use of condom.

It usually occurs when sexually transmitted bacteria spread from the vagina to the womb (uterus), fallopian tubes, or ovaries. This is common during  reproductive age and among sexually active girls. The most common causative organisms isolated are Chlamydia trachomatis  and  Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

3. Who is at risk of PID?

PID can occur at any age in women who are sexually active. It is most common among young women. Those younger than age 25 years are more likely to develop PID. Women with the following risk factors also are more likely to have PID:

-Infection with an STI, most often gonorrhea or chlamydia

-Multiple sex partners (the more partners, the greater the risk)

-A sex partner who has sex with others

-Past PID

Some research suggests that women who douche frequently are at increased risk of PID. Douching may make it easier for the bacteria that cause PID to grow. It also may push the bacteria upward to the uterus and fallopian tubes from the vagina. For this and other reasons, douching is not recommended.

4. Is it treatable?

Yes, it is treatable by a medical professional.  It must be diagnosed early and treatment initiated on time .

5. How long can it resolve if diagnosed early?

In short-term, this resolves within days to weeks. It depends on individual  constitutional  factors.

6 . How is PID diagnosed?

•Pelvic exam . This exam can show if your reproductive organs are tender.

•Lab tests. A sample of fluid from your cervix will be taken and tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia. Blood tests may be done.

•Others might include;


•endometrial biopsy ,

•and in some cases laparoscopy .

7. What are the symptoms of PID?

Some women with PID have only mild symptoms or have no symptoms at all.  Listed are the most common signs and symptoms of PID:

•Abnormal vaginal discharge

•Pain in the lower abdomen (often a mild ache)

•Pain in the upper right abdomen

•Abnormal menstrual bleeding

•Fever and chills

•Painful urination

•Nausea and vomiting

•Painful sexual intercourse

Having one of these signs or symptoms does not mean that you have PID. It could be a sign of another serious problem, such as appendicitis or ectopic pregnancy.
8. How is PID treated?

PID can be treated. However, treatment of PID cannot reverse the scarring caused by the infection. The longer the infection goes untreated, the greater the risk for long-term problems, such as infertility.

PID is treated first with antibiotics . Antibiotics alone usually can get rid of the infection. Two or more antibiotics may be prescribed. They can be given as pills, through a tube inserted in a vein ( intravenous line), or by injection.

A woman’s sex partners must be treated. Women with PID may have partners who have gonorrhea or chlamydia. A person can have these STIs even if there are no signs of illness.

Treatment regimens must provide  broad-spectrum  coverage  for likely pathogens including  N.  gonorrhoeae and  C.  trachomatis,  as well as a variety of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria that are commonly isolated from the upper genital tract in women with PID.


If you don’t get treated, you could have serious health problems in the future, such as:

•  scarred and blocked fallopian tubes

•  infertility (being unable to get pregnant because of blocked fallopian tubes)

•  an ectoptic pregnancy, where a fertilised egg grows outside the uterus (usually in the fallopian tube). This can be dangerous.
10. How can PID be prevented?

To help prevent PID, take the following steps to avoid STI:

•Use condoms every time you have sex to prevent STIs. Use condoms even if you use other methods of birth control.

•Have sex only with a partner who does not have an STI and who only has sex with you.

•Limit your number of sex partners. If you or your partner has had previous partners, your risk of getting an STI is increased.

Thank you.



The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Photo Credit;

Mayo Clinic


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