Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of a woman’s reproductive organs. It’s often caused by STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea.

What puts someone at risk of PID?

Untreated STDs, having more than 1 sex partner, having a sex partner who has partners other than you, prior history of PID, currently sexually active and less than age 25, using douches, and having an IUD put in in the last 3 months. Untreated STDs are a common cause of PID.

What are some symptoms of PID?

Pain, fever, abnormal vaginal discharge with a bad odor, bleeding between periods, and burning with urination. If you have these symptoms, see a doctor right away. PID can be treated with antibiotics, but you can’t eliminate damage made to your reproductive system. Early treatment is key.

How can I prevent PID?

According to the CDC, “the only way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal or oral sex.” If you are sexually active, you can reduce your risk of PID by being in a “long term, mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results.” In addition you can reduce your risk by using latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.”

What are the complications of PID?  Why does having PID matter? 

 scar tissue inside and outside of the fallopian tubes

– ectopic pregnancy

– infertility

– chronic pelvic/abdominal pain

Testing for STDs, especially chlamydia and gonorrhea, with treatment for positive results is crucial for preventing PID. Many women with chlamydia and gonorrhea have no symptoms. We offer free testing and treatment for both chlamydia and gonorrhea at Clearway Clinic. 

Abortion and PID

PID can be a complication of abortion. If someone aborts while having an STD, she increases her risk for more severe infection and PID. Chlamydia and gonorrhea often have no symptoms, so testing for these STDs prior to abortion is important. STDs should be treated before having an abortion.

Reviewed by Lynn B., BSN, RN


Stevenson MM, Radcliffe KW. Preventing pelvic infection after abortion. Int J STD AIDS. 1995 Sep-Oct;6(5):305-12. doi: 10.1177/095646249500600501. PMID: 8547409.

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