Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammation disease or PID is one of the inflammatory disorders caused by an infection. It can cause inflamed ovaries, a uterus infection or a fallopian tube infection. All can stop you from getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term. If you’re having trouble getting pregnant or are feeling pelvic pain, call your gynecologist at Century Medical and Dental Center in Brooklyn for a consultation.
Infections may strike any part of your body, wherever unwanted bacteria can find a way in. Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection that takes place in your reproductive organs. Often causing little or no symptoms, pelvic inflammatory disease, often referred to as PID, takes many women by surprise, especially if they’ve had it for some time. Many women discover they have it only after developing chronic pelvic pain or trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant.
PID’s symptoms often mimics other inflammatory disorders or infections, so take careful note of your symptoms to discuss thoroughly with your ob gyn doctor at Century Medical and Dental Center. Symptoms include:
- Unusual uterine bleeding during or between periods
- Pain that radiates from your pelvis or lower abdomen
- Discharge from your vagina that has an unpleasant or foul odor
- Fever, occasionally accompanied by chills
- Difficulty or pain when urinating
- Bowel discomfort
- Pain during a pelvic exam
- Nausea and vomiting with an inability to keep food or fluid down
Causes and Risk Factors for PID
A foul-smelling vaginal discharge or pain when urinating may indicate a sexually transmitted disease. Bacteria from gonorrhea or chlamydia represent the most common types of bacteria that cause PID. If your cervix has opened due to childbirth, miscarriage or surgical procedures, bacteria may have inadvertently been introduced into your uterus. Since infections and STDs can affect your fertility, contact your gynecologist for an exam before you experience unwanted side effects of the disease.
Although suspected in the past, most doctors don’t believe intrauterine devices increase your chances of developing pelvic inflammatory disease. But risk factors include:
- Frequent sexual activity before the age of 25
- Multiple sexual partners
- Using douches on a regular basis
- Unprotected sex with non-monogamous individuals
- A previous episode of PID
Complications of Untreated Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Because PID is basically an infection, several complications may arise from a lack of treatment. Your reproductive organs can be affected — from a fallopian tube infection to inflamed ovaries — resulting in infertility or an ectopic pregnancy. The scar tissue from PID keeps a fertilized egg from moving into the uterus for proper implantation.
Chronic pelvic pain may come from inflamed ovaries, a uterus infection or scar tissue left behind. PID also causes abscesses that may form on your ovaries or uterine tube. A collection of pus from the infection can result in a life-threatening condition.
Treating Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
One of the difficulties is differentiating between PID and endometriosis. Sometimes, the two conditions can even coexist. The key to successful pelvic inflammatory disease treatment involves eradicating the infection. Your gynecologist in Brooklyn may suggest:
- Antibiotics specifically designed to fight a PID infection. Remember to take your medication as directed and to finish the prescription even if you start feeling better. Antibiotics help prevent complications, but don’t reverse any possible damage.
- Examining and treating your partner. It’s not unusual for a partner to be a carrier of bacteria. This doesn’t mean he or she gave you the infection. It just means closeness and intercourse make it easy for bacteria to move from one host to another. To prevent possible reinfection, your partner should be examined and treated even if not showing symptoms.
- Treating any accompanying conditions or diseases. If you have an accompanying sexually transmitted disease (STD), your doctor may treat this condition with a different antibiotic. Depending on how you handle the stress of an STD diagnosis, your doctor may suggest supportive therapies such as classes, group therapy or counseling sessions.
- Abstinence from intercourse during the treatment process. Going without sex for a period of time allows the antibiotics to do their job and keeps the reoccurrence of infection in check.
- Intravenous antibiotics. If regular antibiotics prove ineffective, you’re pregnant or the infection makes you seriously ill, you may require hospitalization. The hospital staff can administer IV antibiotics and monitor your condition. Infections can become serious.
- Minimally invasive surgery. On the rare occasion that an abscess bursts or seems likely to burst, your gynecologist may perform surgery to drain the pus. This prevents bacteria from entering your other organs and possibly causing life-threatening conditions.
To reduce your chance of developing PID, learn about and practice safe sex techniques. Barrier methods such as condoms reduce your risk. If you choose to have multiple partners or are unsure about your present partner’s sexual history, condoms can protect you from unwanted pregnancy, STDs and pelvic inflammation disease.
Talk to your medical specialists at Century Medical and Dental Center about testing and contraception. Eliminate douching from your routine, as it’s detrimental to the delicate balance of good bacteria versus bad in your vagina. Pelvic inflammatory disease can be treated successfully and prevented with proper knowledge and safe practices.