Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) occurs when bacteria travels from the vagina to the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes, causing pain and inflammation. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can cause PID, and the condition can make it a challenge to become pregnant. If you are experiencing symptoms, Dr. Vicken Sahakian, Dr. Michele Evans, and Dr. Yvonne Yanqing Han can diagnose PID and prescribe antibiotics to treat the condition quickly and effectively. At Pacific Fertility Center Los Angeles, we have office locations around Los Angeles, CA, to provide convenient care for all of our patients.
Causes of PID
PID typically occurs when sexually transmitted bacteria spread from the vagina to your reproductive organs. Many infections can cause PID, but gonorrhea or chlamydia are common culprits. In other cases, bacteria can enter the reproductive tract when the cervix is disturbed, such as after childbirth, miscarriage, or abortion.
Risk Factors for PID
Many of the risk factors associated with PID are connected to unprotected sex. Women may be at a higher risk for developing PID if they:
- Have multiple sexual partners
- Are in a relationship with a person who has more than one sexual partner
- Have unprotected sex
- Are younger than 25 years of age
- Have a history of pelvic inflammatory disease or STDs
- Douche regularly, which upsets the balance of good and harmful bacteria in the vagina
In many cases, PID does not present with noticeable signs or symptoms. Women may not even realize they have the condition until they develop chronic pelvic pain or have trouble conceiving. However, you may have PID if you experience:
- Pain in your lower abdomen and pelvis
- Difficulty urinating or pain while urinating
- Heavy vaginal discharge
- Vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor
- Abnormal bleeding during or after intercourse, or between menstrual cycles
Women may not even realize they have the condition until they develop chronic pelvic pain or have trouble conceiving.
Complications from PID
Untreated pelvic inflammatory disease can result in scar tissue and damage your reproductive organs. Other complications include:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 8 women with a history of PID have a difficult time becoming pregnant.
Your doctor can diagnose pelvic inflammatory disease after reviewing any noticeable symptoms, performing a pelvic exam, analyzing vaginal discharge and cervical cultures, or assessing urine tests.
During a pelvic exam, your doctor will first examine your pelvic region for signs of PID. They may then use a cotton swab to take samples from your vagina and cervix. These samples will be analyzed at a lab to determine whether or not you have an infection. Your doctor may also recommend:
- Blood and urine tests: These tests will measure your white blood cell count, which can reveal an infection and inflammation.
- Transvaginal sonogram: Your doctor can use a wandlike device to take images of your reproductive organs.
- Laparoscopy: Your doctor can thread a tiny camera through an incision in your abdomen to view your pelvic organs.
Treatment for PID
Most women with PID need outpatient treatment, although women who are seriously ill, pregnant, or have not responded to oral medications may need more intensive care. Treatments for pelvic inflammatory disease include:
- Treatment for your partner
- Temporarily abstaining from sex
Receive the Treatment You Need
If you are experiencing painful symptoms or you have reason to believe your partner has PID, contact us today for a screening. Our friendly staff at any one of our locations would be happy to assist you. If you prefer, you can also fill out our online form for less urgent matters.