Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Symptoms

  • Symptoms

    PID is often difficult to diagnose, and sometimes exists without symptoms Table 01 Table 02. PID is often difficult to diagnose because even when symptoms do appear, they can be mistaken for symptoms of a number of other problems, ranging from reproductive organ-related illnesses, such as endometriosis, to other abdominal conditions such as appendicitis.

    Women may experience different symptoms of varying intensity, depending on where the infection is located and whether the disease is chronic or acute. Symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever, fatigue, vaginal discharge, and irregular menstrual bleeding may indicate PID.

    One of the dangers of PID is that by the time symptoms appear or seem significant enough for you to seek treatment, the disease will often have progressed to a more severe stage.

    Table 1.  General Symptoms of PID

    Vaginal discharge (may begin light, and become more puslike)
    Abdominal pain
    Back pain
    Pain during intercourse
    Irregular menstrual bleeding

    Table 2.  Possible Symptoms of Chronic vs. Acute PID

    Symptom Chronic PID Acute PID
    Abdominal pain None to a moderate, dull ache Generally severe
    Fever Low, if any High
    Nausea Moderate, if any Severe
    Vomiting Rarely Usually
    Vaginal discharge Yes, particularly if infection is IUD-related Yes, and may increase, have a stronger odor
    Irregular menstrual bleeding Not usually Sometimes
    Backache Mild, if any Severe
    Abdominal tenderness None to moderate Generally severe
  • Risk Factors

    Having unprotected sex or having sex with multiple partners puts you at risk for PID Table 03. Engaging in unsafe sexual practices puts you at risk for a sexually transmitted disease, including gonorrhea and chlamydia, which are two of the most common infections that lead to PID. A history of PID puts you at risk for recurrence.

    PID is most often seen in young, sexually active females; especially in those having unprotected sex.

    Table 3.  Risk Factors for PID

    Unprotected sex
    Multiple partners
    Insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD) may increase the risk

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