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Today in Health & Wellness

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Doctors to Consult

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is the extensive infection of the pelvic or female reproductive organs especially the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. The disease can be caused by several strains of bacteria. Sexually transmitted infections (STI) such as gonorrhea and chlamydia are the most common causes of PID. Also, the barrier on the cervix can be disturbed after childbirth, miscarriage or abortion allowing bacteria to enter the reproductive tract.

Diagnosis of PID is based on signs and symptoms, results of the pelvic exam, analysis of the vaginal discharge and cervical cultures, and urine tests. The pelvic region is examined for symptoms of PID. Secretions from the vagina and cervix are used to determine the organism that caused the infection.

  • Pain in the lower abdomen and pelvis
  • Lower back pain
  • Heavy vaginal discharge with unpleasant odor
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding
  • Pain or bleeding during sexual intercourse
  • Fever with or without chills
  • Painful or difficult urination
Risk Factors
  • Being sexually active. Especially for women younger than 25 years old
  • Multiple sexual partners. Increased risk of sexually transmitted infection
  • Unprotected sexual intercourse
  • Frequent vaginal douching. Upsets the normal flora of the vagina
  • History of PID or an STD



  • Scar tissue due to untreated PID prevents a fertilized egg from implanting on the uterus leading to an ectopic pregnancy. This can cause a massive, life-threatening bleeding of the mother.
  • Infected fluid can collect in the fallopian tubes and damage the reproductive organs. This increases the risk of infertility or the inability to become pregnant. It can also lead to life-threatening infections if left untreated.
  • Chronic pelvic pain from PID can last for months to years. Pain can be felt during sexual intercourse and ovulation.
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
  • Antibiotics are immediately given upon diagnosis of PID. The choice of antibiotic/s depend/s on the causative organism of the PID. This can prevent the occurrence of complications but any damage on the reproductive organs are not reversible. The commonly prescribed antibiotics for PID include ofloxacin, levofloxacin, metronidazole, ceftriaxone, and doxycycline. Patients who received antibiotics should be reevaluated within 72 hours of treatment initiation.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are given to relieve pain and discomfort felt while the infection is still not treated.
Treatment and Management
  • Sexual partners of diagnosed PID patients are advised to be examined and treated as well. This prevents reinfection and spread of STDs.
  • Patients are advised to abstain from sexual intercourse until the resolution of the infection. This is to ensure that the infection is controlled until it is completely resolved.
  • The use of condoms or other barrier contraceptive methods during sexual intercourse is encouraged to minimize the risk of PID.
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