Pelvic inflammatory disease - PID

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease  PID

 PID is an infection of the uterus (womb), ovaries and tubes. It is caused by a bacterial infection.

 Symptoms

Pain in the lower tummy (abdomen), called the pelvic area, is the most common symptom of PID. It can range from mild to severe.

Other symptoms that may also occur include:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding, which occurs in about 1 in 4 cases. This may be periods that are heavier than usual, or bleeding between periods, or bleeding after having sex.
  • Pain during sex.
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge.
  • High temperature (fever).
  • Low back pain.

Symptoms may develop quickly. You can become quite ill over a few days. Sometimes symptoms are mild and develop slowly. For example, you may just have a mild abdominal pain that may 'grumble on' for weeks. In some cases no symptoms develop and you do not know that you are infected. However, you are still at risk of complications even if you have no symptoms at first.

 Cause

  • Sexually transmitted infection such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea are a common cause.
  • An infection in the abdomen, which may not be sexually transmitted
  • Surgery to the womb (such as a pregnancy termination or other surgery)
  • Insertion of a coil

Sometimes the bacteria can be in the neck of the womb for some time without causing symptoms. When they travel into the womb you become unwell. This is why you might develop PID weeks or months after having sex with an infected person.

 Treatment

You should see your doctor if you suspect PID. It is important to get treated as soon as possible to avoid complications such as an abscess, infertility and a risk of ectopic pregnancy.

The usual treatment is a course of antibiotics for at least two weeks.

Your sexual partner will need to be treated.

You should not have sex until both you and your partner are finished treatment.

 More information

HSE PID leaflet

Causes and treatment of PID

Sexually transmitted disease