Complications And Diagnosis of PID


What Happens if PID Goes Untreated?

Pelvic inflammatory disease, usually caused by an STD infection - most often Chlamydia or gonorrhea - can often be active without any symptoms being present.  About two thirds of women with PID go undiagnosed by medical professionals, and PID goes unnoticed by the women themselves, as a result of the absence of symptoms.  The most common sign and symptom of PID is that they generally have lower abdominal pain.  There are other symptoms as well, including fever, unusual vaginal discharge which has a foul odor and pain during intercourse and urination as well as irregular menstrual bleeding.

Once detected, fast and appropriate treatment can help prevent complications associated with pelvic inflammatory disease.  If PID goes untreated a woman can experience permanent damage to her reproductive organs.  Bacteria, which causes infection, can infiltrate the fallopian tubes resulting in scarring of normal tissue, which in turn interrupts or blocks the movement of eggs into the uterus.  Infertility arises if the fallopian tubes are totally blocked by scar tissue, thus making it impossible for the sperm to fertilize the eggs - causing infertility.  Evens if the fallopian tubes are partially blocked or slightly damaged, infertility can result.  Statistics indicate that one in ten women with PID becomes infertile and recurring episodes of PID in a woman can also increase the risk of infertility.

Ectopic Pregnancy

In the case of ectopic pregnancy, a partially blocked or damaged fallopian tube can cause a fertilized egg to remain in the tube rather than making its way to the uterus.   The growth of this egg in the tube is what is called an ectopic pregnancy, and the dangerous potential if this egg continues to grow is a rupture of the fallopian tube causing severe pain, internal bleeding and even death.

Diagnosis of PID

Because the symptoms of PID are often mild, subtle or even non-existent, it is very difficult to diagnose.  There are no precise tests for PID, the diagnosis is usually based on clinical findings.  If symptoms are present, a health care provider can perform a physical examination to check for source of pain, fever, discharge and for evidence of an STD, such as gonorrhea or Chlamydia.  Positive findings indicate treatment is required.  Tests can also be done to identify the infection or distinguish it from PID.  Pelvic ultrasound is also helpful to see if the fallopian tubes are enlarged or to see if there is an abscess.

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