What is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)?

Pelvic inflammatory disease, PID, refers to inflammation and infection of the main female reproductive organs. It can affect the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and other reproductive organs. PID is caused by bacteria and is most commonly a complication of gonorrhea or chlamydia. PID can cause infertility and is considered the most common preventable way of becoming infertile.


While PID itself is not contagious, the infections that cause it are passed during sexual contact, including:

  • Anal Sex
  • Oral Sex
  • Vaginal Sex

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)?

People with PID often show no symptoms, the most common one displayed is pain in the lower abdominal area. Other symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Irregular menstrual bleeding
  • Pain during sex
  • Painful urination
  • Vaginal discharge, possibly with a strange odor

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Timely treatment of the bacterial infections that lead to PID can prevent most complications. If PID is allowed to progress, it can cause permanent scarring of the fallopian tubes, which can lead to:

  • Ectopic (tubal) pregnancies
  • Infertility
  • Persistent pelvic pain

Partners and Re-infection

It is important that your sexual partners are tested and treated for any sexually transmitted diseases, as a re-infection could cause PID again.

How is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) Treated?

Initially, treatment of PID is through antibiotics to treat the initial infection - often physicians use multiple antibiotics in order to be certain the infection at the root of the problem is cured. Under certain circumstances, including severe illness or pregnancy, treatment in the hospital may be recommended.

Recovery Time

Recovery from PID itself is determined by the recovery time associated with treatment of the initial infection. However, the damage caused by PID is generally permanent.

Sexual Activity

To avoid bacterial transmission, it is important to refrain from sexual activity during the course of your treatment and until both you and your partner are determined to be free from infection.

Mark Riegel, MD

Quick Snapshot

Can it be cured?

Yes and No. Gonorrhea is easily treated with a course of antibiotics.

Type of Infection

Bacterial. Gonorrhea is caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium.

How is it treated?

Antibiotics. A single Cefixime, Ceftriaxone, or Cephalosporin.

Recovery Time

Upto 1 week. One to two weeks can be needed for symptoms to fully disappear.

Can I have sex?

No. Sexual activity should be avoided until treatment is successful.

Can I get re-infected?

Yes. Re-infection is possible from sexual activity with an infected person.

Do I Have PID?

Find out whether or not you have Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and what STD test is recommended using our anonymous symptom checker. Get your personalized recommendations now!

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) Symptom Checker

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