Health and Medicine

Diseases, Disorders, and Other Health Problems

What is pelvic inflammatory disease?

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a term used for a group of infections in the female organs, including inflammations of the Fallopian tubes, cervix, uterus, and ovaries. It is the most common cause of female infertility today. PID is most often found in sexually active women under the age of 25 and almost always results from gonorrhea or chlamydia, but women who use intrauterine devices (IUDs) are also at risk.

A variety of organisms have been shown to cause PID, including Neisseria gonorrhoeae and such common bacteria as staphylococci, chlamydiae, and coliforms (Pseudomonas and Escherichia coli). Signs and symptoms of PID vary with the site of the infection, but usually include profuse, purulent vaginal discharge, low-grade fever and malaise (especially with N. gonorrhoeae infections), and lower abdominal pain. PID is treated with antibiotics, and early diagnosis and treatment will prevent damage to the reproductive system.

Severe, untreated PID can result in the development of a pelvic abscess that requires drainage. A ruptured pelvic abscess is a potentially fatal complication, and a patient who develops this complication may require a total hysterectomy.


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