Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): understanding the causes, symptoms and risks

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is an infection that impacts the reproductive organs of females. Delve into this article to comprehend its symptoms, causes, and potential risks.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): Understanding Causes, Symptoms And Risks
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): Understanding Causes, Symptoms And Risks

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) occurs when bacteria spread from the vagina to the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, causing infection in the female reproductive organs. This transmission of bacteria often happens through sexual contact.

To provide insights into PID, OnlyMyHealth consulted Dr. Kinjal Kothari, Associate Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Manipal Hospitals, Goa. Dr. Kothari elaborated, “Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) involves inflammation of the female reproductive organs. It typically originates from an untreated infection in the vagina or cervix, which then spreads to affect various parts of the reproductive system, including the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.”

As per the National Institute of Health, PID is defined as inflammation of the upper genital tract due to infection in women.

Common symptoms of PID

Dr. Kothari highlights that while some women with PID may experience few noticeable symptoms, others may encounter a range of manifestations, varying from mild to severe. These symptoms may include pelvic and lower back discomfort, fever, fatigue, irregular bleeding or spotting between menstrual cycles, alterations in menstruation patterns, abnormal vaginal discharge, and heightened frequency of urination. It’s important for individuals to be vigilant about any such symptoms and seek medical attention promptly if they arise, as early diagnosis and treatment are crucial in managing PID effectively and preventing complications.

Common symptoms of PID


Risk factors for pelvic inflammatory disease

Some additional risk factors for developing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID):

  • Sexual contact with multiple partners
  • Sexual intercourse without using condom
  • Recently having IUD (intrauterine device device) 

Causes Of PID

Indeed, sexually transmitted bacteria represent a significant cause of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Dr. Kothari highlights various factors contributing to PID susceptibility, including engaging in multiple sexual partnerships, untreated sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), prior PID episodes, regular vaginal douching, intrauterine device (IUD) usage, compromised immune function, and individuals at the extremes of age groups.

Research indicates that an ascending infection from the cervix is a primary mechanism leading to PID. According to the National Institute of Health, approximately 85% of cases of PID are attributed to sexually transmitted bacteria. Moreover, it is noted that around 10% to 15% of women infected with endocervical N. gonorrhoeae or C. trachomatis subsequently develop PID. This underscores the importance of early detection and treatment of sexually transmitted infections to prevent the development of PID.

Causes Of PID


Indeed, if left untreated, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) can lead to significant complications in reproductive health. Research indicates that PID can result in various adverse outcomes, including infertility, ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy), chronic pelvic pain, and tubo-ovarian abscess. These complications underscore the importance of prompt diagnosis and treatment of PID to mitigate the risk of long-term reproductive consequences.

Treatment and preventative measures

According to Dr. Kothari, the treatment for pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) typically involves a regimen of antibiotics aimed at addressing the underlying bacterial infection. Additionally, treating sexual partners concurrently is essential to prevent recurrent infections.

During treatment, abstaining from sexual activity can aid in recovery and prevent complications. Maintaining good hygiene practices, such as avoiding douching, and using barrier methods like condoms during intercourse, can help reduce the risk of bacterial transmission.

In severe cases of PID, hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics may be necessary for more effective management.

To prevent PID, Dr. Kothari advises establishing monogamous relationships and scheduling regular check-ups with healthcare providers. These measures are crucial for early detection and management of PID.