Dr. M.J. Bazos, MD. Patient Handout

About Your Diagnosis

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a bacterial infection of the pelvic organs. The infection usually comes from the bacteria in the vagina through the cervix. The infection may only include the fallopian tubes, or it may include all the pelvic organs, the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. Pelvic inflammatory disease is common, usually occurring in women of reproductive age who are sexually active. Pelvic inflammatory disease may occur spontaneously (in sexually active women), but the presence of sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea or chlamydia increases the risk of developing PID significantly. An intrauterine device (IUD), a birth control method, can increase the risk of developing PID during the first few months after the IUD is placed. Having multiple sexual partners increases the risk of developing PID. Having your partner use a condom or using a diaphragm can decrease your risk of developing PID. Pelvic inflammatory disease is often diagnosed by the presence of pelvic pain, fever, and increased vaginal discharge. However, sometimes only pelvic pain is present, without fever or increased vaginal discharge. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are diagnosed by laboratory tests. If either sexually transmitted disease is diagnosed and either pelvic pain or fever are also present, the diagnosis of PID is made. If PID is suspected or diagnosed, it should be treated promptly. Most cases of PID are cured with a 10- to 14-day course of oral antibiotics.

Living With Your Diagnosis
The most common symptoms are:
• Pelvic pain.
• Fever.
• Increased vaginal discharge. However, in some cases, pelvic pain may be present without fever or increased vaginal discharge. If PID is diagnosed early and treated promptly, in most cases there are no long-term complications. However, in some cases, even if it is diagnosed and treated promptly, the fallopian tubes can be damaged, leading to infertility. In other cases, patients may end up with chronic pelvic pain.

You may be treated with an intramuscular injection of an antibiotic followed by an oral antibiotic for 10–14 days, or with just an oral antibiotic. As with any antibiotic therapy, an associated yeast infection may develop.

The DOs
• It is very important that you take all the medication as prescribed.
• To decrease your future risk of developing PID, have “safe sex,” with your partner using a condom.

The DON’Ts
• Refrain from sexual activity until your symptoms have completely resolved or until your doctor okays sexual activity.
• To decrease your future risk of developing PID, avoid multiple partners.

When to Call Your Doctor
• If your symptoms have not improved within 48– 72 hours.
• If your symptoms worsen despite treatment in the next 48 hours, i.e., fever is higher or pelvic pain is more severe.
• If you do not tolerate the antibiotic, i.e., are throwing up the medication.
• If you have any symptoms that may indicate an allergy to the medication.