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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

Read: Causes, Risk Factors, Symptoms, and Complications Of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Diagnosis For Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

To diagnose Pelvic inflammatory disease, doctors usually do a physical exam to check for signs of Pelvic inflammatory disease and test for STIs.

If you think that you may have gotten a Pelvic inflammatory disease, see a doctor or nurse as soon as possible, likewise if you have pain in your lower abdomen.

Your doctor or nurse will check for:

  • Unusual discharge from your vagina
  • An abscess near your ovaries or fallopian tubes
  • Inflammation or pain in your reproductive organs

Your doctor may do tests to ascertain whether you have a Pelvic inflammatory disease or a different problem that looks like PID.

Such test includes:

  • Tests for STIs, like gonorrhea and chlamydia, which can cause PID.
  • A test for a urinary tract infection UTI, or other conditions that can cause pelvic pain
  • Ultrasound or another imaging test to look at your internal organs for signs of PID

How Is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Treated?

Your doctor will expect you to take antibiotics to treat Pelvic inflammatory disease. Initially, your doctor may not know the type of bacteria that caused your infection so they may give you two different types of antibiotics to treat a variety of bacteria.

Within a few days of starting treatment, symptoms may improve or go away, but you should still finish your medication, even if you are feeling better. Stopping your medication early may cause the Pelvic inflammatory disease infection to return.

If you are sick or pregnant, or can’t swallow pills, your doctor may send you to the hospital for treatment. Likewise, if you have an abscess in your pelvis,

It will be wise to see your doctor or nurse again two to three days after starting the antibiotics to make sure they are working.

Your doctor or nurse may suggest going into the hospital if they observe the following:

  • You are very sick
  • You are pregnant
  • Your symptoms do not go away after taking the antibiotics or
  • You cannot swallow pills and will need IV antibiotics.
  • You have an abscess in a fallopian tube or ovary

If you still have symptoms or if the abscess does not go away after treatment, you may need surgery to fix this problem.

Problems caused by Pelvic inflammatory diseases, such as chronic pelvic pain and scarring, are often hard to treat, but sometimes they get better after surgery.

Surgery is rare and only necessary if an abscess in your pelvis ruptures or your doctor suspects that an abscess will rupture. Surgery can also be necessary if the infection does not respond to treatment.

You may be asked to abstain from sexual intercourse until the infection has been fixed.

The bacteria that cause Pelvic inflammatory disease can spread through sexual contact, so, if you are sexually active, your partner should also get treated for the Pelvic inflammatory disease.

Men may be silent carriers of bacteria that cause pelvic inflammatory disease, and your infection can recur if your partner doesn’t receive treatment.

Prevention Of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

  • Practice safe sex, use condoms every time you have sex, limit your number of sex partners, and ask about the sexual history of a potential partner.
  • Talk to your doctor about contraception, since many forms of contraception do not protect against the development of Pelvic inflammatory disease. Unlike birth control pills, using barrier methods, such as a condom, might help to reduce your risk, and protect against STIs.
  • Get tested to know if you’re at risk of an STI, such as chlamydia. Make an appointment with your doctor for testing, and set up a regular screening schedule with your doctor if needed. Early treatment of an STI gives you the best chance of avoiding Pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Request that your partner is tested, as this can prevent the spread of STIs and possible recurrence of PID. If you have PID or an STI, advise your partner to be tested and, if necessary, treated.
  • Don’t douche, as douching upsets the balance of bacteria in your vagina.

Without treatment, Pelvic inflammatory disease can lead to grave problems like infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain. If you think you may have the Pelvic inflammatory disease, see a doctor as soon as possible.

Antibiotics will treat Pelvic inflammatory disease, but they will not fix any permanent damage done to your internal organs.

Your chances of getting pregnant are lower if you have had PID more than once, and if the bacteria can get into the fallopian tubes or cause inflammation of the fallopian tubes.

This can cause scarring in the tissue that makes up your fallopian tubes, which can block an egg from your ovary from entering or traveling down the fallopian tube to your uterus (womb).

The egg needs to be fertilized and attach to your uterus for pregnancy to happen. Thus, even having just a little scar tissue can keep you from getting pregnant without fertility treatment.

It is possible to get the Pelvic inflammatory disease or an STI if you are a woman who has sex only with women (lesbians).

In this case, talk to your partner about her sexual history before having sex, and ask your doctor about getting tested if you have signs or symptoms of the Pelvic inflammatory disease.

Pelvic inflammatory disease is a very treatable condition and most women make a full recovery following treatment. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10% to 15% of women with a Pelvic inflammatory disease will have difficulty getting pregnant.

Pregnancy is still possible for most women, especially with early treatment.



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