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What is PID by Terra Rahaman

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Pelvic inflammatory disease, also known as PID, is a sexually transmitted infection that affects the female reproductive organs and reproductive tract.   Unlike other sexually transmitted infections, I had little knowledge of pelvic inflammatory disease.   After some research, what I found most interesting about PID is the fact that unless a woman has severe symptoms, PID can go undiagnosed until major damage is caused.  Some of the most serious complications from PID result in infertility. After hearing about PID’s often silent damage and severe consequences, I thought it important to share what causes PID, how to treat it, and lastly how to prevent contraction.

PID arises when bacteria move from the vagina or cervix into the uterus and reproductive tract. The most common of these bacteria are gonorrhea and chlamydia. Often these bacteria will show mild to no signs or symptoms and will go undiagnosed and untreated. PID is the result of leaving these bacteria untreated.  If you are with me so far, at this point, you have contracted an STI, like gonorrhea or chlamydia, not known about it or had it treated and have developed pelvic inflammatory disease as a result of it.  PID then causes inflammation or infection of the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other surrounding organs and tissues.  Symptoms of PID can include abdominal or pelvic pain, pain during urination, pain during sex, fever, vomiting, and heavy vaginal discharge. Symptoms of PID can be mild, severe, or they may not be present all. PID that shows no symptoms is usually not diagnosed until a woman has trouble getting pregnant.

PID can be treated with antibiotics if it is caught early enough. Since PID can be caused by different bacteria, treatment usually consists of more than one type of antibiotic and for more than one round. This will hopefully eliminate the infection. Unfortunately, antibiotics cannot repair any damage already sustained. You also always have to be careful of antibiotic resistance.

Leaving PID untreated creates scar tissue. These scar tissues pose some serious threats. If scar tissue from PID infects the fallopian tubes it may cause severe damage to a woman’s fertility. Scar tissue can disrupt the journey of the egg, causing the egg not to get to the uterus. It can also block the egg from being fertilized by sperm. Scar tissue may create blockage that causes the egg to implant outside the womb, this is known as ectopic pregnancy. If the ectopic pregnancy ruptures, it can result in death. A less serious complication caused by scarring is chronic pelvic pain. Chronic pelvic pain can create painful urination and pain during sex. It can last for up to several years.

Lastly, now that we know what causes PID, how it is treated, and what happens if we do not treat it, let’s discuss prevention. The best way to prevent any STI is to NOT have sex. However, if you are sexually active, have as few partners as possible and protect yourself by wearing condoms every time you engage in sexual activities. Another important factor in prevention of PID is annual exams. Get tested! In most cases, early detection is essential to treatment or curing the infection if possible. Be responsible for your sexual health. You may save your fertility and your life.

Works Cited:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 Sept. 2011. Web. 08 Apr. 2012. <http://www.cdc.gov/std/PID/STDFact-PID.htm>.

Staff, Mayo Clinic. “Definition.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 24 May 2011. Web. 08 Apr. 2012. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pelvic-inflammatory-disease/DS00402>.


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