You could guess that from the name , it has to do with pain in the female reproductive system. Well, your guess is right! Simply put, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female reproductive system (organs).But we would want to know what the female reproductive system looks like right?
ANATOMY OF THE FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM
The female reproductive system is divided into upper and lower genital tract.The upper genital tract which is made of the internal organs includes ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix and vagina(in a descending order).The lower genital tract has to do with the external genitalia which includes mons pubis, labia majora( big lip),labor minora(small lip), clitoris, vestibule, hymen, bartholin’s glands, external urethral meatus and skene’s gland.
Now back to where we want to talk about.Pelvic Inflammatory disease is an inflammation of the female upper genital tract due to infection which usually occurs in an ascending manner from the vagina and cervix to the uterine body, fallopian tubes and possibly the ovaries.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF PELVIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASE?
As said earlier, it occurs as a result of infection caused by bacteria from
• Untreated Infection: Infections that have been left untreated over time can travel up to the cervix and uterus from the vagina to cause PID.
• STD’s: Having unprotected sex with a partner who has STI’s especially gonorrhea and chlamydia causes inflammation in any of the female reproductive organs.
• Procedures like abortion, childbirth, getting an intrauterine device(IUD), endometrial biopsy and even miscarriage can cause bacteria which is found in the vagina and cervix to journey into the uterus, ovaries or fallopian tubes.
As a female, you are more likely to have pelvic inflammatory disease if you ;
• are having multiple sexual partners.
• have had previous sexually transmitted infection.
• are sexually active as a woman and younger than 25 years of age.
•constantly douche,especially after sex.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE PELVIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASE?
Symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) occur differently in several women. But then, the most common of them all includes:
• Vaginal discharge that is yellow or green with a very unpleasant smell.
• Irregular and painful menstrual periods associated with spotting and cramps.
• Painful sexual intercourse
• Abdominal pain and tenderness
• Fever, nausea,vomiting,diarrhoea with low back pain.
Although sometimes, individuals with PID may be asymptomatic (appear to have no symptoms) and this could cause a lot of damages when left over time. It will be advisable to go for routine check up regularly.
HOW IS PELVIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASE (PID) DIAGNOSED?
Your doctor will run certain tests to confirm the diagnosis of PID, these tests include:
• Vaginal/Cervical swabs which will show antibodies for chlamydia/gonorrhea
• Blood tests: Increase in WBC count, C-reactive protein,(C-RP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) signifies an ongoing inflammation, although this is not specific for PID.
• Pelvic examination: to assess if there is tenderness or vaginal discharge.
COMPLICATIONS OF PELVIS INFLAMMATORY DISEASE
• Infertility: due to damage in the upper genital tract especially if the fallopian tube and ovaries are affected. Studies have shown that 1 in 8 women with a history of PID experience difficulty getting pregnant.
• Tubo-ovarian abcess: it is the accumulation of infected fluids that causes an abcess.
• Ectopic Pregnancy: occurs when the fertilized egg grows outside the uterine cavity.
• Chronic Pelvic Pain
TREATMENT OF PELVIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASE
When discovered or diagnosed early enough, it is treatable and can be cured with antibiotics, such as Cefoxitin 2gm or Ceftriaxone 250mg IM, together with doxycycline 100mg orally 2 times/day or tetracycline.It’s best to book an appointment with your doctor to treat it effectively.