What Is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)?
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of a girl's ovaries, fallopian tubes, and/or uterus. Treatment with antibiotics can help prevent long-lasting problems.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of PID?
The most common symptom of PID is lower belly pain. The pain may get worse during sex.
Other symptoms may include:
- vaginal discharge
- pain when peeing
- irregular periods or spotting
Sometimes girls with PID have no symptoms.
What Causes PID?
Pelvic inflammatory disease is usually caused by a sexually transmitted disease (STD). STDs (also called sexually transmitted infections or STIs) are infections that spread through sex (vaginal, oral, or anal). Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the STDs that most often lead to PID.
Who Gets PID?
Sexually active girls can get PID. It happens more often in girls who have more than one sexual partner.
You can get pelvic inflammatory disease more than once if partners with STDs don't get treatment, or if you have sex with someone else who has an STD.
How Is PID Diagnosed?
To find out if someone has PID, health care providers:
- ask about sexual activity
- ask about symptoms
- do a physical exam, including a pelvic exam
- test urine (pee) and vaginal discharge for STDs
Sometimes more testing is needed. For example, an ultrasound or CT scan may be done to look at the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
How Is PID Treated?
Health care providers treat PID with antibiotics . All sexual partners from the past 2 months need treatment too.
Girls who are getting treated for PID should not have sex until:
- treatment is finished and there are no more signs of PID
- partners have been treated and have no symptoms
What Can Happen if PID Isn't Treated?
If pelvic inflammatory disease isn't treated or went on a long time before being treated, girls can have problems such as:
- ongoing pain in the lower belly
- trouble getting pregnant (infertility)
- pregnancy in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus (an ectopic pregnancy)
- an infection in the ovary and fallopian tube (a tubo-ovarian abscess)
Can PID Be Prevented?
If you are sexually active, it's important to get tested for STDs every year, or more often if recommended by your health care provider.Back to Articles
STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases)
You've probably heard lots of discouraging news about sexually transmitted diseases. The good news is that STDs can be prevented. Find out how to protect yourself.Read More
Vaginal Discharge: What's Normal, What's Not
Normal vaginal discharge has several purposes: cleaning and moistening the vagina and helping to prevent infections. But sometimes discharge indicates there's a problem. Get the facts on what's normal and what's not.Read More
The STD gonorrhea can be very dangerous if it's not treated, even in someone who has mild or no symptoms. For information about how to protect yourself, read this article.Read More
A pelvic exam is where a doctor or nurse practitioner looks at a girl's reproductive organs (both outside and internally) and feels the uterus and ovaries to be sure everything's normal. Find out what's involved in this article for teens.Read More
Read this article to learn all about endometriosis and how doctors help girls who have it.Read More
Girls should get their first gynecological checkup between ages 13 and 15. Find out what happens during a yearly gyn visit -- and why most girls don't get internal exams.Read More
Vaginal Yeast Infections
What are vaginal yeast infections? Can anything be done to prevent them?Read More
Talking to Your Partner About STDs
You know you should talk about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) before the action starts. But what if the thought of having "the talk" makes you nervous? These tips can help.Read More
Condoms may be a good birth control option for couples who are responsible enough to use one each time and people who want protection against STDs.Read More
Trichomoniasis is a curable disease that can be passed from one person to another during sex. The good news is that it can be prevented. Read about how to protect yourself.Read More