What causes pelvic inflammatory disease?
In general, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) occurs when bacteria spread from the vagina to the Fallopian tubes, ovaries, and/or uterus. Many different kinds of germs or bacteria can cause PID, but many cases are associated with gonorrhea and chlamydia, two very common bacterial sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Nonetheless, even normal bacteria found in the vagina and on the cervix can sometimes cause PID. Bacteria can further enter the body after the following gynecological procedures:
A number of factors may increase risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease. For example, PID is more common among teenage than adult women. And some forms of contraception may affect your risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease including:
Age – Women who are sexually active and younger than 25 years old are more likely to develop PID.
Birth control pills - Birth control pills are thought to sometimes allow easier access to tissue where bacteria may grow. However, birth control pills can also stimulate the body to produce a thicker cervical mucus, which makes it more difficult for bacteria to reach the upper genital tract.
Contraception – Consistent use of non-barrier contraceptives (IUD, birth control pills, etc.) puts you at great risk of developing PID. Likewise, women who consistently use condoms reduce risk for PID.
Douching - Douching regularly upsets the balance of bacteria in the vagina and can push germs into the uterus, ovaries, and tubes to cause infection. Douching can also hide the signs of an infection.
Ethnicity – PID is more common among African-American and Hispanic women.
Intrauterine device (IUD) - A contraceptive intrauterine device (IUD) may increase risk of PID. However, you're less likely to develop PID if you're tested and treated for any infections before getting an IUD.
Medical history – You are more likely to be diagnosed with PID if you have a history of pelvic inflammatory disease or any sexually transmitted disease.
Medical procedures – Women who undergo gyneoclogical procedure are more at risk of bacteria entering the reproductive tract. IUD insertion, childbirth, miscarriage, abortion or endometrial biopsy all increase risks of PID.
Sexual activity - Unsafe sexual practices such as unprotected sex with one or more partners can increase the likelihood of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and thereby increases risk of pelvic inflammatory disease.
Pelvic inflammatory disease occurs as a result of infection. It is important that women avoid or immediately treat symptoms of PID because the disease can result in infertility or ectopic pregnancy. But how can you be sure that you are experiencing pelvic inflammatory disease? Learn to identify the symptoms of PID by reading the next section on symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease here.
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