Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection in a woman's pelvic organs, including the:
- Fallopian tubes
- Peritoneum (the membrane covering the abdominal cavity)
PID usually results from a sexually transmitted infection, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. It is the most common cause of female infertility and ectopic pregnancy. Acute PID comes on suddenly and tends to be more severe, whereas chronic PID is a low-grade infection that may cause only mild pain and sometimes backache.
Signs and Symptoms
People who have PID may not have any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they range from nonspecific complaints, such as abdominal pain to high fever and vomiting.
Acute PID is accompanied by the following signs and symptoms:
- Severe pain and tenderness in lower abdomen
- Vaginal discharge
- Abnormal uterine bleeding or tenderness
- Nausea and vomiting
Chronic PID is accompanied by the following signs and symptoms:
- Mild, recurrent pain in the lower abdomen
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Pain during intercourse
- Heavy, unpleasant smelling vaginal discharge
What Causes It?
PID occurs when bacteria from the vagina or cervix infiltrate the normally sterile pelvic organs. PID is most commonly caused by sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae.