One of the most common complication of a sexually
transmitted disease (STD), second only to AIDS, is PID. PID
is an infection of the reproductive organs (the
fallopian tubes, uterus, ovaries, and other related structures). It
usually begins with an infection of the cervix, caused by GONORRHEA
and genital chlamydial infections, two
common STD's. If the infection of the CERVIX
is not treated with antibiotics, the bacteria can migrate upward from the
into the upper genital tract. This can
then spread the infection to the endometrium and to the fallopian tubes,
uterus, ovaries, and abdomen. You can become infertile as a result of PID.
In fact, more than 100,000 women experience infertility each year as a
consequence of PID 
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Major symptoms of PID
- lower abdominal pain and/or lower back pain
- longer and/or heavier menstrual periods
- cramps or spotting throughout the month
- unusual vaginal discharge (change in smell, color, or amount)
- nausea and vomiting
- pain during intercourse
- pain or burning sensation during urination
- pain or belly tenderness when your health care provider moves your
CERVIX or examines your ovaries.
soon as you notice symptoms, make sure you see your health care provider
immediately. Although college work can be intense and take up a lot of
time, ignoring these symptoms will only make future treatment more
difficult and increase your chances of becoming infertile.
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To diagnose PID, your doctor will perform a physical exam to determine
the nature and location of the pain. He/she will probably check you for
fever, abnormal vaginal or cervical discharge, abdominal pain, and
evidence of cervical chlamydial infection or gonorrhea. If more
information is needed, your doctor may order other tests, such as a
sonogram, endometrial biopsy, or LAPAROSCOPY
to distinguish between PID
and other serious
problems that may mimic PID.
Depending on how sick you are, you may be treated either in a hospital
or as an outpatient. If you are treated as an outpatient, you will receive
antibiotics and must follow your health care provider's directions on
taking them. You need to take all of the pills even if the symptoms are no
longer present. A few days after you start taking medicine, you will need
to see your health care provider again. It is important to stay in bed and
get lots of rest, focusing on your health needs. As a hospital patient you
will receive intravenous (IV) and oral antibiotics until the symptoms get
better. After leaving the hospital, you will have to take oral antibiotics
for another 2 weeks. Although you may feel better quickly, the infection
can remain in your system and recur. In order to get better, you need to
follow your doctor's instructions.
PID can be dangerous if not treated early; scar tissue can form in the
fallopian tubes and inside the abdomen. These scars can block the
fallopian tubes, which can cause infertility or difficulties in getting
pregnant. If the tubes are partly blocked, fertilized eggs may not reach
the uterus and a pregnancy can form in the fallopian tubes, known as a
tubal or ECTOPIC pregnancy. If the effects of
PID are very severe, surgery may be needed to
remove pus, scar tissue, or damaged organs.
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- The safest way to avoid PID is to
remain abstinent from sex.
- If you are sexually active, use a latex condom correctly all the
time to prevent the spread of STDs
- Do not use douches-they have been known to spread the bacteria
further up the vagina
- Avoid nicotine and alcohol
- Observe changes in your body, such as abnormal discharge or bleeding
- Finish all prescribed antibiotics if being treated for PID, and make
sure your partner(s) gets treated if they have an STD.
- Limit the number of sexual partners you have since that increases
your risks of getting an STD and consequently PID.
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