Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. The reproductive system is the part of the body involved in getting pregnant and having a baby. The female reproductive system is made up of internal and external sex organs that function in the reproduction of new offspring. The Pelvis is in the lower abdomen and includes the Fallopian Tubes, Ovaries, Cervix, and Uterus.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, or PID, occurs when female reproductive organs become infected.
Causes of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Several different types of bacteria can cause PID, including the same bacteria that causes Sexually Transmitted Infections, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are the most common cause because these bacteria are usually acquired during unprotected sexual activities. Other infections that are not sexually transmitted can also cause PID, like normal bacteria in the vagina, it can travel into a woman’s reproductive organs and sometimes cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease because of douching. If left untreated, PID can cause problems getting pregnant, problems during pregnancy, and long-term pelvic pain.
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Bacteria can enter your reproductive tract anytime the normal barrier created by the cervix is disturbed. This can happen during menstruation and after childbirth, miscarriage, or abortion. Rarely, bacteria can also enter the reproductive tract during the insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD) — a form of long-term birth control — or any medical procedure that involves inserting instruments into the uterus.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Risk factors
A number of factors might increase your risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, including:
(1) Being sexually active and younger than 25 years old.
(2) Having multiple sexual partners.
(3) Being in a sexual relationship with someone who has more than one sex partner.
(4) Having sex without a condom.
(5) Douching regularly, which upsets the balance of good bacteria in the vagina and might mask symptoms
(6) Having a history of pelvic inflammatory disease or a sexually transmitted infection.
(7) There is a small increased risk of PID after the insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD). This risk is generally confined to the first three weeks after insertion.
Signs and Symptoms
Many women do not know they have Pelvic Inflammatory Disease(PID) because they do not have any signs or symptoms.
When symptoms do happen, they can be mild or more serious.
Signs and symptoms include:
(1) Pain in the lower abdomen (this is the most common symptom)
(3) Vaginal discharge that may have the foul-like smell
(4) Painful sex
(5) Painful urination
(6) Irregular menstrual periods
(7) Pain in the upper right abdomen (this is rare)
PID can come on fast, with extreme pain and fever, especially if it is caused by gonorrhea.
Some women may have severe pain and symptoms, such as:
(1) Sharp pain in the abdomen
(4) A high fever,
Please, if you have severe symptoms, visit your doctor immediately. The infection may have spread to your bloodstream or other parts of your body and this can be life-threatening.
Tests for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
To diagnose PID, doctors usually do a physical exam to check for signs of PID and test for STIs.
If you think that you may have PID, see a doctor or nurse as soon as possible.
If you have pain in your lower abdomen, your doctor or nurse will check for:
– Unusual discharge from your vagina or cervix.
– An abscess (collection of pus) near your ovaries or fallopian tubes.
– Tenderness or pain in your reproductive organs.
-Your doctor may do tests to find out whether you have PID or a different problem that looks like PID. These can include:
– Tests for STIs, especially gonorrhea and chlamydia. These infections can cause PID.
– A test for a urinary tract infection or other conditions that can cause pelvic pain.
After collecting samples, your Doctor sends them to the laboratory.
If your doctor determines that you have Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, they may run more tests and check your pelvic area for damage. PID can cause scarring on your fallopian tubes and permanent damage to your reproductive organs.
Additional tests include:
Pelvic ultrasound:- This is an imaging test that uses sound waves to create pictures of your internal organs for signs of PID.
Endometrial biopsy:- In this outpatient procedure, a doctor removes and examines a small sample from the lining of your uterus.
Laparoscopy:- A laparoscopy is an outpatient procedure where a doctor inserts a flexible instrument through an incision in your abdomen and takes pictures of your pelvic organs.
Treatment for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Your doctor will likely have you take antibiotics to treat PID, because your doctor may not know the type of bacteria that caused your infection, they might give you two different types of antibiotics to treat a variety of bacteria.
Within a few days of starting treatment, your symptoms may improve or go away. However, you should finish your medication, even if you’re feeling better, stopping your medication early may cause the infection to return.
Your doctor or nurse may suggest going into the hospital to treat your PID if:
-You are very sick
-You are pregnant
-Your symptoms do not go away after taking the antibiotics or if you cannot swallow pills.
If this is the case, you will need Intra Venous antibiotics.
-You have an abscess in a fallopian tube or ovary
Pelvic inflammatory disease may require surgery. This is rare and only necessary if an abscess in your pelvis ruptures or your doctor suspects that an abscess will rupture. It can also be necessary if the infection doesn’t respond to treatment.
Note:- The bacteria that cause PID can spread through sexual contact. If you’re sexually active, your partner should also get treated for PID. Men may be silent carriers of bacteria that cause pelvic inflammatory disease.
Your infection can recur if your partner doesn’t receive treatment. You may be asked to abstain from sexual intercourse until the infection has been resolved.
If you don’t treat your PID, your symptoms can worsen and lead to problems, such as:
_infertility, an inability to conceive a child,
ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy that occurs outside the womb,
chronic pelvic pain, pain in the lower abdomen caused by scarring of the fallopian tubes and other pelvic organs.
The infection can also spread to other parts of your body. If it spreads to your blood, it can become life-threatening.
Ways to Prevent Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
You can lower your risk of PID by not douching. You can also prevent STIs by not having vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
If you do have sex, lower your risk of getting an STI with the following steps:
Use condoms: Condoms are the best way to prevent STIs when you have sex. Because a man does not need to ejaculate (cum) to give or get STIs, make sure to put the condom on before the penis touches the vagina, mouth, or anus. Other methods of birth control, like birth control pills, shots, implants, or diaphragms, will not protect you from STIs.
– Get tested: Be sure you and your partner are tested for STIs. Talk to each other about the test results before you have sex.
– Be monogamous: Having sex with just one partner can lower your risk for STIs. After being tested for STIs, be faithful to each other. That means that you have sex only with each other and no one else.
Limit your number of sex partners. Your risk of getting STIs goes up with the number of partners you have.
-Do Not Douche: Douching removes some of the normal bacteria in the vagina that protect you from infection. Douching may also raise your risk for PID by helping bacteria travel to other areas, like your uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.
-Do not abuse alcohol or drug: Drinking too much alcohol or using drugs increases risky behavior and may put you at risk of sexual assault and possible exposure to STIs.
By Jolayemi Oluwadamilola
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