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Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a general term for a bacterial infection in the female pelvic organs. Specific types of PID include salpingitis (infection of the fallopian tubes), endometritis (infection of the uterine lining), and cophoritis (infection of the ovaries).

Most infections are caused by the same organisms that cause sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and chlamydia. Usually PID bacteria enter the vagina during sex and ascend into the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. Bacteria may also enter the body after an invasive gynecological procedure.


Prompt treatment of PID is important. Infection of the fallopian tubes may lead to scarring and adhesions (bands of scar tissue) that can obstruct the tubes, causing infertility. Over one in twelve women are left infertile after a first episode of PID, one in five are infertile after a second episode, and over 40% are left sterile after three or more episodes of PID. PID is the leading cause of infertility in women. Other problems include chronic recurrances, chronic pain, premature hysterectomy, and depression. At least 10 percent of all sexually active teens are infected with PID.


Symptoms of PID include:

  • persistent cramps

  • pain during or after sexual intercourse

  • temperature of 102-104 degrees F

  • unusual vaginal bleeding or foul smelling discharge

  • tenderness in the lower abdomen

  • chills

  • many cases have no symptoms

Risk factors include:

  • multiple sex partners

  • recent IUD insertion

  • sexual activity during adolescence

  • use of non-barrier type contraceptives (pill, foam, etc.)

  • past history of PID or a sexually transmitted disease

  • abortion, childbirth, miscarriage, or other gynecological procedure

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**This web site's goal is to provide you with information that may be useful in attaining optimal health. Nothing in it is meant as a prescription or as medical advice. You should check with your physician before implementing any changes in your exercise or lifestyle habits, especially if you have physical problems or are taking medications of any kind.