Pelvic inflammatory disease: what you need to know

Pelvic inflammatory disease, commonly abbreviated to PID, is a vaginal infection that travels through the cervix and womb and into the fallopian tubes, sometimes also affecting the ovaries. This occurs when bacteria finds its way into the vagina, causing an infection that results in inflammation.

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How PID is caused

There are often no specific causes for PID; however, some women may experience an infection following a pregnancy termination, childbirth, or intercourse with a new sexual partner.

The symptoms of PID

Inflammation will usually cause pain in the lower abdomen and may be accompanied by a fever, heavy periods, vaginal discharge and a general feeling of discomfort.

As with all sexual health concerns, it is important to seek advice if you are concerned. London STI testing kits, such as those provided by, are available from a number of locations that will also be able to provide you with accurate and up-to-date advice on a variety of sexual health issues.

Diagnosing PID

A doctor will usually conduct a pelvic examination and may also conduct a blood test, which will usually show any signs of infection. If these initial tests and examinations are unclear, your doctor may conduct a further pelvic examination using a laparoscopy. A sample will also be taken to identify the cause of your PID.

Treating PID

A course of antibiotics and rest will usually ensure that any inflammation subsides within a couple of weeks and hospital treatment is only needed in a small number of cases. If you are still experiencing pain following a course of antibiotics, this could be a sign that the infection has not been properly treated or has returned, although it is important to note that this is uncommon.

PID complications

Although PID is usually easily treated, it is still important that you seek medical attention as quickly as possible after experiencing symptoms. As the Daily Mail reports, delayed treatment may result in harm to the fallopian tubes, which can increase the risk of infertility.

In chronic cases, surgery may be necessary, which could result in the removal of an ovary, a fallopian tube, or occasionally a hysterectomy; however, as the majority of women access appropriate treatment quickly, these complications are usually avoided.a