Pelvic inflammatory disease also known as PID is a severe infection of the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes or the ovaries. Variations to this disease are also called as cervicitis, endometriosis or salpingitis. PID is one of the leading causes of primary or secondary infertility.
In this, bacteria may enter the uterus and infect the fallopian tubes causing widespread inflammation. The inflammation may prevent the egg from being fertilized and moving to the uterus for implantation. It may also lead to an ectopic pregnancy and death. Sexually promiscuous women are at the highest risk for developing PID. Nearly a million women suffer from PID every year.
There are two common bacteria that cause PID. They are Chlamydia trachomatis and neisseria gonorrhoea. These organisms are spread via sexual contact. Having unprotected sexual intercourse with multiple partners can lead to the transmission of bodily fluids. These fluids host some of the bacteria that eventually lead to PID.
Symptoms of PID
Pelvic inflammatory disease has very classic, hallmark symptoms, which are as follows.
Severe abdominal pain is one of the first signs of an infection. This could include cramping and a vicious pain in the lower abdominal region. If left ignored, the infection can soon spread to the other parts of the abdomen like the stomach and the intestines. There is acute tenderness in the abdominal region, which may be painful to touch.
One oft overlooked feature of PID is back pain. Most women mistakenly assume that back pain is being caused by something else. However, it is often an undiagnosed sign of PID. The pain is usually prevalent in the lower back closer to the hipbone. It may be dull or throbbing depending on the intensity.
Heavy and Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
This is another classic symptom of PID. The woman may start to bleed in between her period or may have very heavy periods. The bleeding may be intense, prolonged with heavy clumps. This is something that is typically seen in endometriosis when the uterine lining of the uterus begins to grow and develop on other parts of the uterus. The bleeding may be dark and may necessitate intervention of a doctor.
In most cases of bacterial infections, there is abnormal vaginal discharge. Often the colour of the discharge is yellowish or whitish but in most cases the discharge can be an unpleasant yellow or green which is clearly indicative of an infection. The discharge may get unusually heavy as the infection intensifies. It also leaves a foul odour.
It is not uncommon to see some cases of PID leading to a urinary tract infection especially if the infection has been left to fester and has spread to other parts of the abdomen like the urinary tract.
PID may or may not be accompanied by a urinary tract infection. This often causes difficulty in urination and painful urination. The urine may be cloudy, foul smelling and dark yellow in colour.
Painful Sexual Intercourse
One of the reasons why most cases of PID are reported to the doctor is because of painful sexual intercourse. The woman may feel intense or severe pain on penetration and this may cause her to refrain from sex or avoid it altogether. This happens when the infection reaches the vagina and the cervix, causing swelling, pain and inflammation. This leads to intense pain during sex.
Fever, Nausea and Vomiting
Other symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease are fever, nausea and vomiting. These are classic symptoms of an infection and occur in most cases of PID. If women find themselves suffering from any of these symptoms, they must see a doctor right away.
Young teens and girls in their 20’s are particularly susceptible. They should take immediate remedial action; otherwise, they are likely to suffer from chronic infertility, which may hamper their chances of conceiving in the future. In most cases of PID, hospital admissions are required.
Some infections have pus and abscess that is prevalent in the fallopian tubes or on the ovaries. This needs to be treated with a course of antibiotics. In case of a severe abscess, surgical drainage of the pus is done to remove it. Treatment for pelvic inflammatory disease
At the very outset, an immediate course of strong antibiotics is given to the woman in order to arrest the infection. These may be given intravenously for faster results. The antibiotics may be administered over a period of 5-7 days depending on the severity of the infection. A usual round of medicines for Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are also prescribed just to be on the safer side.
Pain medication is also given to people suffering from PID. In exceptional cases, morphine may also be administered. Painkillers are given to reduce cramping and abdominal tenderness if any.
IV fluids are also given to the patient in case she suffers from fever, nausea and vomiting. Since chances of dehydration are very high, the need for fluids becomes important.
In case the woman is suffering from severe bleeding, there may be a need for surgery. This is particularly true in the case of endometriosis. In this, a laparoscopic instrument will be inserted in the woman’s uterus and the extra tissue growth found on the other organs will be removed. This will definitely help to reduce the bleeding.
Any infection requires that you give the body rest. Women who have suffered from PID may be advised and put on bed rest in order to heal and recover completely. This is done especially after a complicated surgery or if the woman had been diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy.
Cases of PID should not be neglected or treated with scant disregard. In most cases, the woman can become permanently infertile especially if she does not receive proper treatment and care. The correct diagnostic procedures followed by critical and timely care can go a long way in treating pelvic inflammatory disease and giving the woman a quality and infection free life.