Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female reproductive organs. It usually occurs when sexually transmitted bacteria spread from your vagina to your uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries. Pelvic inflammatory disease often causes no signs or symptoms. As a result, you might not realize you have the condition and get needed treatment. The condition might be detected later if you have trouble getting pregnant or if you develop chronic pelvic pain.
Many types of bacteria can cause PID, but gonorrhea or chlamydia infections are the most common.
These bacteria are usually acquired during unprotected sex.
Less commonly, bacteria can enter your reproductive tract anytime the normal barrier created by the cervix is disturbed.
This can happen after childbirth, miscarriage or abortion.
A number of factors might increase your risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, including:
Being a sexually active woman younger than 25 years old
Having multiple sexual partners
Being in a sexual relationship with a person who has more than one sex partner
Having sex without a condom
Douching regularly, which upsets the balance of good versus harmful bacteria in the vagina and might mask symptoms
Having a history of pelvic inflammatory disease or a sexually transmitted infection
Most experts now agree that having an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted does not increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory
disease. Any potential risk is generally within the first three weeks after insertion
Signs and symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease might include:
Pain in your lower abdomen and pelvis
Heavy vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor
Abnormal uterine bleeding, especially during or after intercourse, or between menstrual cycles
Pain or bleeding during intercourse
Fever, sometimes with chills
Painful or difficult urination
PID might cause only mild signs and symptoms or none at all. When severe, PID might cause fever, chills, severe lower abdominal or pelvic pain — especially during a pelvic exam