- +What is it?
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is an infection of the female reproductive organs most commonly resulting from sexually transmitted disease. 90% of cases occur when chlamydia or gonorrhoea are left untreated. PID occurs when the disease causing organisms, originally transmitted into the cervix, are left untreated and allowed to travel from the cervix to the upper genital tract. Other causes of PID include abortion, use of IUD, childbirth and pelvic surgery.
Chlamydia is one of the most insidious infections to cause PID as it often presents with no symptoms. For this reason Chlamydia is commonly only discovered when a woman presents for investigations for her infertility. To help avoid this many GP’s will request a chlamydia test as part of a general woman’s health check-up or you can request the test from your GP yourself. However this initial blood test for chlamydia is not 100% accurate so if infection is suspected your GP may prescribe treatment anyway or run further diagnostic testing.
- +How do I know if I have it?
The symptoms of PID can vary, but include
- Abnormal vaginal discharge, yellow or green in colour and/or an unusual odour
- Heavier than usual periods
- Bleeding between periods
- Painful urination
- Dull pain or tenderness in the stomach, lower abdominal region or the upper right abdomen
- Fever or chills
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain during intercourse or bleeding afterwards
- +Why does it impact my fertility?
PID affects your ability to fall pregnant due to a variety of factors including
- Inflammation and infection affecting ovulation
- Scarring or damage within the fallopian tubes
- Development of abscesses within the fallopian tubes
Not only is your ability to fall pregnant reduced, women with PID are also at increased risk of
- Ectopic pregnancy (risk increases to about 1 in 10)
- Premature birth
- +What can I do to help me conceive?
If you suspect you may have PID, and you are trying to conceive, you must seek treatment from your GP.
Initial treatment of PID involves the prescription of antibiotics for at least 2 weeks, commonly up to 6 weeks, to clear up the infection.
In more severe cases, PID can cause abscesses within the reproductive system. Theses require surgical removal to prevent them rupturing and spreading infection.