What is pelvic inflammatory disease?

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Pelvic inflammatory disease is infection of the reproductive organs among women. The pelvis is positioned in the lower abdomen and includes the ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix and uterus.

Various types of bacteria can trigger pelvic inflammation disease including those that trigger sexually transmitted infections (STI) such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. The bacteria initially enter via the vagina and trigger an infection. Over time, the infection can move into the pelvic organs.

This condition is considered dangerous and even deadly, if the bloodstream is reached. A doctor must be consulted right away if this infection is suspected.

Risk factors

Lower abdominal pain is one of the usual indications that might arise.

The risk for developing pelvic inflammatory disease is increased if the individual has chlamydia or gonorrhea. Nevertheless, one can develop the condition without having any STI.

Other factors that can cause pelvic inflammatory disease include:

  • History of pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Sexual activity below the age of 25 years old
  • Using an intrauterine device
  • Douching
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Sexual activity without protection such as condoms


Some women with pelvic inflammatory disease do not have any symptoms. In some women with symptoms, these include the following:

  • Fever
  • Lower abdominal pain (common symptom)
  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Pain during sexual activity
  • Irregular bleeding
  • Painful urination
  • Tiredness
  • Increased or foul-smelling vaginal discharge


Antibiotics are usually prescribed to manage pelvic inflammatory disease. Since the exact bacteria responsible is still unknown, the doctor might provide 2 types of antibiotics.

After a few days of treatment, the symptoms might improve or vanish. Nevertheless, the prescribed course of treatment must be completed. If the course is not finished, the infection might return.

Always remember that the bacteria responsible for pelvic inflammatory disease can spread via sexual activity. For those who are sexually active, the partner also requires treatment.

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