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PELVIC INFLAMMATORY

What it is?

Pelvic inflammatory disease, commonly called PID, is an infection of the female reproductive organs. PID is one of the most serious complications of a sexually transmitted disease in women: It can lead to irreversible damage to the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, or other parts of the female reproductive system, and is the primary preventable cause of infertility in women.

What causes it?

Normally, the cervix prevents bacteria that enter the vagina from spreading to the internal reproductive organs. If the cervix is exposed to a sexually transmitted disease — such as gonorrhea and/or chlamydia — the cervix itself becomes infected and less able to prevent the spread of organisms to the internal organs. PID occurs when the disease- causing organisms travel from the cervix to the upper genital tract. Untreated gonorrhea and chlamydia cause about 90% of all cases of PID. Other causes include abortion, childbirth, and pelvic procedures.

Symptoms:

Many women don’t know they have PID because they don’t have any symptoms. For women who have them, symptoms can range from mild to severe. The most common symptom of PID is pain in your lower abdomen (stomach area). Other symptoms include:

1. Fever (100.4 F or higher)

2. Vaginal discharge that may smell foul

3. Painful sex

4. Painful urination

5. Irregular periods (monthly bleeding)

6. Pain in the upper right abdomen

Pelvic inflammatory disease can come on fast with extreme pain and fever, especially if it’s caused by gonorrhea.

Prevention & Lifestyle

1. The best way to prevent an STI is to not have sex of any kind.

2. Have sex with one partner who doesn’t have any STIs.

3. Use condoms every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Read and follow the directions on the package. Condoms, when used the right way, can lower your chances of getting an STI.

4. Don’t douche. Douching removes some of the normal bacteria in the vagina that protect you from infection. This makes it easier for you to get an STI.