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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

​Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a term that refers to an infection involving the upper female genital tract. The upper female genital tract includes the uterus, fallopian tubes and the ovaries.

PID is most commonly caused by sexually transmitted infections (STIs), specifically: chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichmoniasis.  However, other microorganisms that are normally found in the vagina have also been associated with PID.

If not treated, PID can lead to infertility, chronic pelvic or lower abdomen pain and an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy (a serious condition in which a pregnancy develops outside of the uterus)1.
 
How can you tell if you have it?
PID can be difficult to diagnose because it can cause a lot of different symptoms, and they are often mild or subtle.
 
Symptoms may include:
  • Lower abdominal pain (most common).
  • Pain with intercourse.
  • Abnormal menstrual bleeding.
  • New vaginal discharge, possibly a foul odor.
  • Painful urination or bowel movements.
  • Fevers and chills.
Where and how do I get tested?
Testing can be provided by your healthcare provider or through the Sexual Health Clinic. A series of exams, including a pap test, may be needed to determine if you have PID.
 
How is it treated?
PID is usually treated with antibiotics. The exact treatment depends on how severe the PID is and will be determined by your health care practitioner. Your sexual partner(s) may also need to be treated.
 
How do I NOT get pelvic inflammatory disease?
PID can be caused by sexually transmitted infections, so one way to decrease your risk of developing PID is to not have sex. 
 
If you choose to have sex, you should use a condom every time, even if you are using birth control, to lower your chance of getting PID or the STIs that cause it. Free condoms are available through the health unit. 
 
1Source: The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada Retrieved from www.sexualityandu.ca.