Definition: is the contamination of the reproductive organs in women.
It results in an inconvenience often caused by sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. Some other infections that are not sexually transmitted can cause this condition.
You may have heard about pelvic inflammatory disease, but many people are not sure what it is. It is a serious infection that affects the reproductive organs of a woman.
It develops when an infection spreads from the vagina and cervix to the fallopian tubes, uterus and ovaries. It is usually caused by chlamydia or untreated gonorrhea. But it can be caused by other infections.
Pelvic inflammatory disease is common. More than one million American women suffer from this disease every year.
How does this disease start?
When you get a sexually transmitted infection without being treated:
- Have several sexual partners;
- Have a sexual partner who has other sexual partners other than you;
- Suffering from this disease in the past.
- Be sexually active and be 25 years of age or younger.
Use intrauterine device for birth control. Even so, an increased risk is marked during the first three weeks after the device is placed inside the uterus.
Is it possible to reduce my risk of getting this condition?
The only way to avoid STDs is not to have vaginal, anal or oral sex.
If you are sexually active, you can do the following to reduce your chances of getting it:
Being in a mutually monogamous long-term relationship with a partner who has been proven to have negative results from sexually transmitted infection tests.
Using latex condoms correctly when having sex.
Learn to know if you have pelvic inflammatory disease.
A doctor can diagnose pelvic inflammatory disease during a pelvic exam. Chlamydia, gonorrhea or other infections will also be done, as they often cause this.
Your doctor can also:
- Perform blood tests.
- Tests of vaginal and cervical secretions.
- A laparoscopy – an instrument is inserted through a small cut in the navel to check the reproductive organs.
The symptoms can be confused with other infections. Be open with your health care provider about your sexual history to help make it easier to diagnose the disease in its earliest and most treatable stages.
There are no tests to reveal pelvic inflammatory disease. A diagnosis is usually based on a combination of medical history, physical examination, and other test results.
You may not realize that you have pelvic inflammatory disease because your symptoms may be mild or you may not experience any symptoms.
However, watch out for these symptoms:
- Low abdominal pain.
- An unusual discharge with a bad smell of the vagina.
- Pain and / or bleeding when you have sex.
- Burning when urinating.
- Bleeding during menstrual periods
Be examined by your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms;
- Consult a doctor immediately if you believe that you or your sexual partner have or were exposed to an STD;
- Consult a doctor immediately if you have any genital symptoms, such as an unusual sore, a foul-smelling discharge, burning during peeing, or bleeding between periods;
- Get a chlamydia test every year if you are sexually active and are under 25 years of age.
- Have an honest and open conversation with your health care provider if you are sexually active and ask if you should be tested for other STDs.
Many women do not know they have pelvic inflammatory disease. Some cases may not have any symptoms at all. Later, when it gets worse, common symptoms include:
- Unusually long or painful periods and unusual vaginal secretions.
- Stains and pain between menstrual periods or during urination.
- Pain in the lower abdomen and back.
- Fever, chills.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Pain during vaginal intercourse.
If left untreated, it can cause serious problems, such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pain. The more times a woman has pelvic inflammation, the greater her chances of becoming infertile.
Pelvic inflammatory disease is often difficult to identify because the symptoms resemble those of other conditions, such as appendicitis, urinary tract infections, ovarian cysts, and endometriosis.
It can be cured?
Yes, if diagnosed early, it can be treated. However, the treatment will not undo any damage that has already occurred to your reproductive system. The longer you wait to receive treatment, the more likely you are to have complications.
While taking antibiotics, your symptoms may disappear before the infection is cured. Even if the symptoms go away, you should finish taking all the medications.
Be sure to tell your recent sexual partner (s) so they can also get tested and receive treatment for STDs. It is also very important that you and your partner finish your treatment before having any kind of sexual relationship so that they do not reinfect each other.
You can regain the disease if you re-infect with an STD. Also, if you have had pelvic inflammatory disease before, you have a higher chance of having it again.
- Take all prescribed medications. Even if the symptoms go away, the infection can still be in your body until the treatment is complete.
- Take care
- Rest in bed. You need several days of bed rest to treat a serious infection.
- Drink plenty of fluids and eat a healthy diet.
- Do not douche or use tampons.
- You can take aspirin, ibuprofen (such as Advil) or acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) for pain. You can also put a bolster type pad on your belly.
- Tell your partner (s) that you have an infection. Any recent sexual partner will need to have a check-up and receive medication, even if you feel fine.
- If your partner (s) are not treated for any possible infection, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, you may have the disease again.
- Do not have sex until you and your partner have finished all the medication, have been examined and know that the treatment is complete.
- Keep your medical appointments to make sure you are in better condition.
It is important to treat the disease and prevent it from coming back. The treatment reduces the risk of complications, including infertility.
What happens if they do not treat me?
If diagnosed and treated early, complications can be prevented. Some of the complications are:
- Formation of scar tissue both on the outside and inside of the fallopian tubes, which can lead to blockage of the tubes;
- Ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus);
- Infertility (inability to get pregnant);
- Long-term pelvic / abdominal pain.