PID stands for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. PID is an infection that involves the upper part of the female reproductive organs that are the uterus, ovaries, pelvis, fallopian tubes, etc. If the Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is left untreated, then it might lead to future complications like ectopic pregnancy, infertility, severe pelvic pain and might also cause Cancer.
Causes and Symptoms:
The disease involves bacterial invasion in the female reproductive organ that is the vagina and cervix and from there it starts spreading to the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, etc. PID is mainly caused due to the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The structure of the female internal organs is in such a way that it provides a pathway for the pathogens and other foreign contaminants to easily enter the female reproductive tract and spread in the pelvic cavity through infundibulum.
Symptoms include cervical soreness, fever, abnormal vaginal discharges, irregular and heavy menstrual bleeding. If the PID is not treated completely then it may even cause irreversible damage to the female reproductive organs since it causes scarring inside the reproductive system.
Types of PID:
The Pelvic Inflammatory Disease are broadly classified into 4 types based on their intensity and severity:
Acute Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: The patient might suffer from fever and lower abdominal pain and notice pale or yellow vaginal discharge which can be non-irritant but medical examination becomes necessary.
Sub-Acute Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: Since the onset of PID is gradual, the patient might suffer from minimal symptoms until the spread of the infection in the pelvic cavity, the patient might also notice blood-stained discharge and frequent abdominal pain.
Chronic Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: If the PID is left untreated or unnoticed, then the patient will enter into the stage of Chronic PID where they will notice irregular and heavy menstrual bleeding, pain while having intercourse and severe pelvic pain. It might also cause infertility.
Sexually Transmitted Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: The female reproductive organ is formed in such a way that the lining of the cervix and fallopian tubes encourage an active passage to the sperm and restores its mobility so that it can reach the tubes for fertilization and fertilized ovum can easily cross this path and enter into the uterus for implantation. This is equally applicable for any bacterium and pathogen to enter and cause any damage to the internal reproductive organ and permanently damages the internal lining of the fallopian tubes since it can easily pass through the cervix and uterus and enter into the fallopian tube. The fallopian tubes might get blocked and the active passage of eggs, sperm, and embryos is affected.
The physician or gynaecologist considers noting down the medical and sexual history to identify the cause, a further pelvic examination is conducted to rule out any soreness or abnormal discharge or abnormal mass. A swab is taken from inside the vagina and sent for laboratory testing for any bacterial infection. A positive test for bacterial infection confirms the diagnosis. If the infection is negative then further evaluation is done and the patient is subjected to other tests like ultrasound abdominal scan and CT scan to assess the organs more clearly and co-relate with the symptoms to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment and Prevention:
Treatment is usually started at the earliest as and when the patient starts to show some signs of infection to avoid further complications. The first line of treatment involves prescribing Antibiotics for bacterial infections and Analgesics to overcome pelvic pain. Antibiotics are prescribed orally or through the intravenous route depending upon the severity of the infection. Removal of an IUD (Intrauterine Devices) if any is considered if the symptoms don’t improve even after 3-4 days of starting with the treatment.
The sexual partners are both tested for any sign of infection to stop the further spread to the partners. Usually, PID can occur in long term relationships. Use of contraceptives like a condom is considered for sexual intercourse and if the disease is advanced then the sexual activity must be stopped completely till the treatment is completed and the patient is free from infection.
1. Is PID only sexually transmitted?
The most frequent cause of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is either due to Chlamydia or Gonorrhea or it may result as a complication of an STD. But other infections that are not through sexual transmission can also cause PID.
2. How long does it take to heal PID?
PID takes somewhere around 10-15 days to completely heal. But in severe cases where oral antibiotics fail to give the result. Then hospitalization is considered.
3. What are the possible chances of infertility in PID?
PID, if left untreated in the initial stage, can lead to permanent scarring of the lining of fallopian tubes thus causing permanent damage to the reproductive organ and causing infertility.