The pelvis or lower abdomen includes the uterus, the fallopian tubes, cervix and ovaries. When any of these organs get infected by a certain kind of bacteria, it causes pelvic inflammatory diseases, otherwise known as PID. These bacteria enter through the vagina and infect it, and subsequently that infection gets transmitted to the other organs in the pelvis. These bacteria are similar to the ones which cause sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea.
How does a woman know if she has pelvic inflammatory disease?
There are several symptoms, but none of them are unique to this disease, and so further tests would also be required. Pain in the abdominal area (especially the lower part) is one of most common symptoms. Another sign could be irregularities in the timing and volume of menstruation. A woman with PID might feel some pain and discomfort either during urination or during sexual intercourse. Fever and vomiting are some of the other symptoms that suggest the onset of pelvic inflammatory disease.Also there may be increased vaginal discharge,itching and foul smell.
Apart from the distress caused by these symptoms, there are several possible harmful effects if pelvic inflammatory disease is not diagnosed and treated on time. It could lead to the inability to produce a child(infertility). If a child is conceived, PID could result in a pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus, (ectopic pregnancy). Finally, the pain caused by PID could become chronic, especially in the lower abdominal area.
As we said above, symptoms are usually not confirmatory, so some tests are carried out by gynaecologist’s to confirm the presence of pelvic inflammatory diseases. The basic test is a test of urine sample for routine examination. Sometimes a simple physical and visual examination of the pelvic organs is also carried out.Additionally, the laboratory might carry out a cervical culture or vaginal tract culture. The vaginal discharge is used to carry out this test if there is an irregular color, odor, or consistency, or if the volume of discharge has changed noticeably. If further tests are required, then ultrasound scan is done. Laparoscopy or biopsy are also done in case there is accumulation of pelvic organs.
Usually the common treatment for PID is the prescription of antibiotic tablets. The symptoms could reduce initially, but the complete course of medication should be completed nonetheless, to avoid the recurrence of the infection. If tablets do not work and the infection doesn’t subside, the doctors could also prescribe surgery, but that is required only in few cases, and most cases of pelvic inflammatory disease are completely cured by the use of antibiotics.
PID can be prevented by practicing a few simple sexual and hygiene habits. The first way is to insist on protection during sexual intercourse, and also getting yourself tested for sexually transmitted disease at regular intervals. Douches should be avoided, and the practice of wiping from front to back instead of the other way round after relieving yourself should be followed.