Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and Infertility


Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is one of the most common causes of female infertility. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in eight women with PID experience difficulties getting pregnant. PID is an infection of a woman’s reproductive organs (uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and cervix). It occurs when bacteria travels up from the vagina and infects the pelvic organs.  Many different types of bacteria can cause PID, however, most cases of PID occur when Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) such as Clamydia and Gonorrhea go untreated.

Each year in the United States, more than one million women have an episode of PID and more than 100,000 women become infertile due to PID. Problems related to PID can also cause ectopic pregnancies which can be dangerous to a woman’s health.

Symptoms of PID can range from mild to severe. Some women with PID do not experience any symptoms at all. Women with symptoms may experience any of the following:

  • Fever (100.4°F or higher)
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Painful sex
  • Painful urination
  • Irregular periods
  • Pain in the upper right abdomen

When PID occurs as a result of Gonorrhea, it can have a very rapid onset with very high fever.

The earlier STDs like Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are diagnosed and treated, the better. This will help reduce the risk of developing PID and as a result, infertility. If you have symptoms or think you may have been exposed to Chlamydia or Gonorrhea, it is important to visit your OBGYN as soon as possible. He or she can then perform a pelvic examination and conduct any tests needed to obtain an accurate diagnosis.  If you have contracted either of these common STDs, your doctor can then prescribe the appropriate treatment to protect your long-term health and your fertility.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Carlos Alarcon, Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A.