Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Most cases of pelvic inflammatory disease are caused by an infection in the vagina or the neck of the womb (cervix) that has spread to the pelvis and reproductive organs higher up. If diagnosed at an early stage, PID can be treated effectively with antibiotics.

What is it?

An infection in the neck of the womb (cervix) or the vagina that has spread to the pelvis and reproductive organs higher up. PID can be caused by many different types of bacteria, including sexually transmitted infections like Gonorrhoea or Chlamydia.. However, sometimes the cause of the infection that leads to PID is unknown.

How do I catch it?

PID develops when bacteria gets into the womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries. This can happen during unprotected sex, childbirth, an abortion, a miscarriage, or following a medical procedure.

What symptoms could I have?

You may notice pain in the lower abdomen and pelvis which doesn’t go away, pain which happens deep inside during sex, or cramping pains which are not linked to your periods. You may also have a change in vaginal discharge or unexpected bleeding.

If you have fever or vomiting with pain you should seek help urgently.

How do you test for it?

The clinic will diagnose PID based on your symptoms, a clinical examination, and tests.

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How do you treat it?

PID is treated using a combination of antibiotics because it often involves several different types of bacteria. The course will last for 14 days. If PID is not treated, the infection can lead to more serious complications such as abscesses, chronic pain, infertility, and pregnancy complications.

What about my sexual partner(s)?

You should not have any sex whilst you are on PID treatment. Any sexual contacts should be tested and treated.