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Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of a woman's pelvic organs (uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries). For some women, PID is the first sign that they have HIV or AIDS. Bacteria cause PID. Bacteria can move upward from a woman's vagina or cervix into her fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus, causing infection. PID usually starts with gonorrhea or chlamydia that leads to a secondary infection in the pelvic organs. After being infected, it can take a few days to a few months to develop PID. The major symptoms of PID are lower abdominal pain and abnormal vaginal discharge. Other symptoms include:
- Pain in the right upper abdomen
- Painful intercourse
- Irregular menstrual bleeding
PID may produce only minor symptoms or no symptoms at all, even though it can seriously damage the reproductive organs. PID can become a chronic condition that causes pain, especially if it is not fully treated. Untreated, PID causes scarring and can lead to infertility, tubal pregnancy, a pelvic abscess, chronic pelvic pain, and other serious problems.
PID is more common and more aggressive in women with HIV than in uninfected women. It is also more likely to develop in sexually active women under age 25. PID may not go away, or it may come back over and over again as a woman's immune system weakens.
Women can play an active role in protecting themselves from PID by taking the following steps:
- Call your doctor if you have discharge with odor or bleeding between periods.
- Use condoms during sex.
- Limit your number of sexual partners.
- Complete the PID treatment your doctor gives you.
PID may produce only minor symptoms or no symptoms at all. Untreated, PID causes scarring and can lead to infertility, tubal pregnancy, chronic pelvic pain, and other serious problems.
Read more from womenshealth.gov
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Fact Sheet — This fact sheet provides information on pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), including its causes, risk factors for, symptoms, and treatment.
Explore other publications and websites
Gynecological Problems (Copyright © The Well Project Project) — Certain conditions are more common and serious in HIV-positive women. This Web page talks about the gynecological problems that can affect women with HIV.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease — This fact sheet gives information on the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and current research on pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). It also discusses the risk factors and complications associated with PID.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) (Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians) — This online publication provides information on PID, including how a woman gets it, the symptoms, and what can happen if you have PID.
Content last updated July 1, 2011.
Resources last updated July 1, 2011.
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