Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Symptoms

By Michele C. Hollow @YourCareE
August 11, 2023
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Symptoms

Untreated sexually transmitted diseases can cause pelvic inflammatory disease. Here's what you should know about pelvic inflammatory disease symptoms.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of eight women in the United States with a history of pelvic inflammatory disease can have trouble getting pregnant. That’s why it’s important to protect yourself and to understand pelvic inflammatory disease symptoms.


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What is pelvic inflammatory disease?

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection in a woman’s reproductive organs. It’s often caused by sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Other infections, however, can cause pelvic inflammatory disease.

What are pelvic inflammatory disease symptoms?

Pelvic inflammatory disease symptoms can be nonexistent or mild. In other cases, pelvic inflammatory disease symptoms that you should look for include:

  • Pain in your lower abdomen
  • Fever
  • Unusual discharge and a bad odor from your vagina
  • Pain and bleeding during sex
  • A burning sensation when you urinate
  • Bleeding between periods

Pelvic inflammatory disease causes

If you get a sexually transmitted disease and don’t get treatment, it can develop into pelvic inflammatory disease. Other ways to catch it include:

  • Having multiple sex partners or having sex with someone who has multiple partners.
  • Having had pelvic inflammatory disease before.
  • Being sexually active at age 25 and younger.
  • If you douche.
  • If you use an intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control (IUDs aren’t a direct cause of PIDs). If you have an infection, the IUD may spread it.

If you think you have pelvic inflammatory disease, talk to your doctor. No tests can show whether you have pelvic inflammatory disease. Your physician will look at your medical history and conduct a physical exam. Your doctor will also do a pelvic exam, take a sample of your vaginal discharge or cervical cultures, and may have you do a urine test.

If you are diagnosed with pelvic inflammatory disease, you need to alert your sexual partner to avoid spreading the disease and to make sure your partner is treated for any STD.

What is pelvic inflammatory disease treatment?

If you are diagnosed with pelvic inflammatory disease, get treatment immediately. The longer you wait, the more complications can arise. If you don’t get immediate treatment, scar tissue can form inside and outside of your fallopian tubes, which can lead to tubal blockage and make getting pregnant difficult.

You can also develop ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside your womb), infertility, and long-term pelvic and abdominal pain.

Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. The antibiotics can prevent damage to your reproductive organs. That’s why you need immediate treatment; delaying can harm your reproductive organs, and antibiotics cannot reverse damage that’s already occurred.

Antibiotics for pelvic inflammatory disease can quickly eliminate symptoms. Your doctor will tell you to take all of the medication because, even though the symptoms may appear to vanish, you need to be sure the infection is fully cured.

In rare cases, you may need hospitalization and, if pelvic inflammatory symptoms continue, you may have surgery.

How to prevent pelvic inflammatory disease

If you are sexually active, you lower your risks if you’re in a long-term monogamous relationship with no sexually transmitted diseases and use latex condoms when you have sex.


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August 11, 2023

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN