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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is an infection or inflammation of the reproductive organs in a female. This includes the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and the surrounding tissues. It is the leading cause of infertility.

What are the most frequent causes of pelvic inflammatory disease?

The most frequent causes of pelvic inflammatory disease are:

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What are symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)?

Many women have PID with no symptoms. A woman with symptoms may notice:

  • Abdominal pain, tenderness or bloating
  • Deep pain during sexual intercourse
  • Abnormal periods or bleeding between periods
  • Bleeding after intercourse
  • Vaginal discharge
  • General feeling of illness, fatigue, fever or nausea

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Why is pelvic inflammatory disease a serious disease?

  • PID is the leading cause of infertility in young women under the age of 25.
  • 1 in 5 women who have PID is unable to get pregnant.
  • A female who has PID can pass bacteria through unprotected sexual intercourse or the sharing of sex toys to her partner.

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How can I protect myself against pelvic inflammatory disease?

  • Practise safer sex, using condoms ALL of the time to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STI)s.
  • Have regular tests for STIs especially when you have multiple sexual partners, or your partners have also had other sexual partners.
  • Practise careful vaginal hygiene which includes:
    • Do not douche
    • Wipe from front to back after urination
    • Avoid intercourse during menstruation
    • Avoid anal intercourse
    • Avoid use of an Intrauterine Device as a method of birth control
  • Partners of women with PID should be treated even if they are not having any symptoms.
  • Hormonal contraception does provide some degree of protection against STIs developing into PID.

Women should not start having sex again until a week after their partner(s) have been treated. If you do not wait until your partner has been treated, you are at high risk of being re-infected.

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How can I find out if I have PID?

  • If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, go to your family doctor or make an appointment to attend your local Sexual Health Clinic to see a doctor.
  • Pelvic exams External Link, which may include (PAP) tests, should be done annually once you have become sexually active.

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