Symptoms of PID
PID may cause only minor signs and symptoms or none at all. Many women experience PID and don't know it. This is because sometimes PID does not present any symptoms, especially when the infection is due to chlamydia. Other symptoms of PID that range from mild to severe may be ignored. PID can also be misdiagnosed as appendicitis, ectopic pregnancy, endometriosis, ovarian cysts or other problems. The most common symptom of PID is lower abdominal pain. Other symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease include:
Other symptoms that may occur during cases of PID:
When left untreated, PID can cause permanent damage to the female reproductive organs and even death. In fact, about one in ten women diagnosed with PID becomes infertile. Untreated pelvic inflammatory disease may cause scar tissue and abscesses to develop in the fallopian tubes and damage the reproductive organs. Complications may include:
Chronic pelvic pain - Scarring in the fallopian tubes and other pelvic organs can cause chronic pelvic pain. This pain can last for months or years and occur during intercourse, exercise and/or ovulation.
Ectopic pregnancy - PID is a major cause of tubal (ectopic) pregnancy. Damage to the fallopian tubes caused by PID can cause a fertilized egg to remain in the fallopian tube, during which case the egg grows as if it were in the uterus. Ectopic pregnancies can cause severe pain, life-threatening bleeding and require emergency surgery.
Infertility - PID can cause normal reproductive tissue to turn into scar tissue. This scar tissue thins the lumen of the fallopian tubes and blocks or interrupts the normal movement of eggs into the uterus and causes infertility — the inability to become pregnant after one year of unprotected sex.
STD transmission - The lack of signs and symptoms associated with PID caused by Chlamydia increase the likelihood that the infection can be passed to other sexual partners.
When to seek help
If any signs and symptoms of PID persist, see your doctor as soon as possible. Furthermore, women possibly exposed to a sexually transmitted infection (STI) should see a doctor right away and stop having sex. Also call your doctor if treatment of a current STI does not seem to be working. Prompt treatment of an STI can help prevent PID. The following symptoms can be related to an STI:
Go the emergency room if you experience the following severe signs and symptoms of PID:
It can be hard for your doctor to diagnose PID. Symptoms can be mild and are like symptoms of some other diseases. But early diagnosis and treatment for PID make it less likely that long-term problems, such as infertility, can develop. But what medical exams do doctors perform to diagnose PID? What can you expect during a doctor’s office visit? Click here to learn more about PID testing, including a pelvic exam.
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