Chlamydia & PID
One of the very devastating results of sexually transmitted infections and diseases is the development of pelvic inflammatory disease. This disease is most frequently associated with Chlamydia, although it can also result from any type of vaginal procedure, including abortion and childbirth. Pelvic inflammatory disease travels from the vaginal opening into the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, and is often the cause of very tragic consequences such as ectopic pregnancy or infertility.
Causes Of PID
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the primary causes of PID in most women. In the United States alone, it is estimated that more than 1 million women a year experience an episode of PID and that more than 100,000 women will suffer infertility as a result of the disease. If there have been prior episodes of PID, than the risk of contracting the disease again is significantly increased.
As with most sexually transmitted diseases, the high-risk group are women 25 years of age and younger who are sexually active. STDs and PID go hand-in-hand. The cervix of teenage girls and young women is not fully matured prior to the age of 25. Consequently, there is an increased susceptibility to sexually transmitted diseases that cause PID. On top of that, the more sexual partners a woman has, the higher the risk of infection. If the woman's partner has more than one partner, the risk is heightened again.
More Than Sexual Transmission
Douching can also have an impact upon susceptibility to pelvic inflammatory disease. Research shows that douching changes the vaginal flora (the organisms that live in the vagina) in a negative way, and can cause bacteria to travel into the upper reproductive organs from the vagina.
Another risk factor is intrauterine devices (IUDs). There is a higher risk of PID near the time of insertion, however, this risk is reduced if a woman is tested and treated for any STDs prior to having an IUD inserted.
Pelvic inflammatory disease, when caused by Chlamydia infection, may or may not instigate symptoms. Yet, all the while, the reproductive organs are being damaged. Sadly, nearly two thirds of the time, PIDs go unnoticed and undiagnosed because of the absence of symptoms. When there are symptoms, they usually manifest as lower abdominal and back pain, fever and nausea, unusual vaginal discharge, pain during intercourse and urination as well as irregular menstrual bleeding.
The Complications of PID
Complications can be avoided with prompt attention. Without treatment, PID can cause permanent damage to reproductive organs causing scar tissue, which blocks the normal movement of eggs to the uterus. The fallopian tubes may become totally blocked, which inhibits the movement of sperm toward the egg, so there is no fertilization. The end result is infertility. With every incident of PID, a woman becomes more infertile. Another possible scenario is the fertilization of an egg that ends up being blocked in the fallopian tube due to scar tissue. This results in an ectopic pregnancy, which, if not discovered, can be fatal.
Since there are no specific tests for PID, diagnosis is usually based on clinical findings (symptoms). A physical examination and testing will discover the inflammation and treatment can be prescribed.