PID or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is an STI that not all people talks about. In the actual fact, we do not even have the right figures on how many women are getting affected by it in the United Kingdom and various countries in the world. This is mainly because it is actually thought to be under diagnosed and is often unrecognized. However, since it is accountable for issues with periods and pain and future fertility conditions, it is really important to know what is PID. Get to learn more about this topic. Read on tot his article!
What is PID?
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PelvicInflammatory Disease is mainly a pain condition causing pain around thelower tummy where you get period pain but also pain whilst passing water andpain during sex. It can be responsible for changes in periods – so if you have particularly heavy or painful periods,or bleeding when you shouldn’t have a period at all, including after sex, it isworth considering a test. Like most STIs it can also cause an unpleasantvaginal discharge.
Why does PID Happen?
The condition is due to what we call an ‘ascending infection’. This infection starts in the vagina or cervix but travels up to affect the whole reproductive system including the ovaries, the Fallopian tubes and the lining of the womb. This is why it causes such significant pain.
PID is one of those conditions that can have a range of causes – and in fact not always sexually transmitted. So the name PID describes the catalog of symptoms you have, no matter which bug is the cause.
In at least 25% of cases the cause is an STI including chlamydia or gonorrhea: these bacteria usually cause infections lower in the genital area i.e. just the vagina or cervix. PID develops when you leave the infection without any treatment, and it therefore has the opportunity to travel up into the other regions. This is one of the reasons that quick treatment for these infections is so vital.
PID is not always Transferred Sexually
In the actual fact, it’s not just the sexual infections that can be the problem. All women have ‘friendly’ harmless bacteria within the vagina as part of the natural healthy physiology there. If for whatever reason these healthy bacteria travel up into the womb, tubes or ovaries they can also cause PID. This may happen after damage to the cervix for example after childbirth, a miscarriage or a termination. It is also more likely to happen if you have a coil for contraception or if you have had PID before.
How to get a test for it?
Diagnosing PID involves either the GP or sexual health clinic. It is not always an easy diagnosis to confirm as there is not one single test. Usually it is on the catalog of symptoms as well as some confirmatory tests for example swabs.
It can be normal to have a vaginal examination to diagnose PID, as pain on this examination is a typical sign. Because the symptoms of PID can also be the symptoms of serious diagnoses such as appendicitis or even cervical cancer,you can end up having a lot of tests to rule these out, for example urine tests and an ultrasound scan. A pregnancy test is also essential at the time of diagnosis.
PID: How to treat it?
Knowing what is PID isn’t enough, you should also know how to treat it. The initial treatment of PID always involves antibiotics. Usually there will be a local protocol of antibiotics essential for PID and you will likely get a mixture of them. Most sexual health clinics will not wait for the results of swabs but start treatment straight away, adding in or changing types if necessary once swabs results are known. That is because often one single bacterial cause is not present, and if the diagnosis comes from your symptoms, prompt and aggressive treatment is really essential to avoid long-term problems.
It is also imperative at this point to treat any partners you have had in the last 6 months; clinics contact these partners for you, known as contact tracing, and can offer them treatment anonymously. If you are in a long-term, monogamous relationship you should both get treatment at the same time and abstain until you’re both fully treated.
Complications of PID
Delaying treatment for PID can unfortunately lead to long-term issues. Sadly infertility can be the result of PID when treatment has been delayed. The infection can damage the Fallopian tubes causing scarring which can prevent the easy passage of eggs to the womb for fertilization.
The same scarring leads sufferers to be at risk from ectopicpregnancies. The fertilized egg gets stuck in the scarred tube as it can’t travel down so implants in the tube. This is rather than into the womb. Ectopic pregnancies are not only terribly distressing emotionally as the pregnancy is not sustainable. In fact, they can also cause life-threatening bleeding and bursting of the tube.
Seeking immediate treatment for PID as soon as you suspect any symptoms can avoid any of the long-term issues.