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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is a devastating condition that can cause chronic pain and infertility. The simplest way to describe Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a “sexually transmitted disease that has spread up to the womb, tubes, ovaries & cervix, especially from chlamydial or gonorrheal infections.
It can also be caused by other infections that are not sexually transmitted.

But the majority of women have never heard of pelvic inflammatory disease.
An infection of a woman’s reproductive organs, it can affect the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.
And left untreated, the consequences can be shattering.
Unbeknown to many, the disease can cause infertility, chronic pelvic pain and ectopic pregnancy (where the foetus develops outside the womb, usually in the fallopian tube).
But it is often referred to as the ‘silent epidemic’ because it can have mild or no symptoms and often goes unrecognised by women and their doctors.
And to make matters worse, delays in diagnosis put women at greater risk of long-term complications.
HOW DO YOU GET IT?
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) comes from an infection that travels up the cervix or vagina to infect the uterus, fallopian tubes and other reproductive organs.
A number of harmful organisms can cause it, but sexually transmitted infections (STIs) – specifically chlamydia and gonorrhoea – are responsible for about one-third to half of known cases.
These are actions that increase your chance of getting a PID

1. Unprotected intercourse

2. Multiple partners

3. Having an unfaithful partner

4. Having a previous PID

5. Douching (cleaning inside the vagina)

6. The first three weeks after inserting an IUD contraceptive

Bacterial invasion of the womb following childbirth, miscarriage or abortion can also cause PID.

Symptoms/Signs
Some women do not feel anything. This is why the infection can stay in them for years and only get discovered when they are unable to get pregnant.

Some symptoms may include:
1. Lower abdominal pain

2. Smelly discharge

3. Fever

4. Bleeding between periods (before or after your period)

5. Pain or bleeding during intercourse

6. Pain or difficulty in passing urine

Complications/Outcome
PID affects the uterus (womb), ovaries, tubes, cervix, that is, the female reproductive tract. The bacterial invasion causes the formation of abscess and fluid collection that can result in scar tissue formation, inflamed tubes or blocked tubes.


A woman with an active PID will not get pregnant. Long term PID or untreated PID aso results in inability to get pregnant. The longer it takes to receive treatment, the greater the chance of scar formation and thus, infertility.

PID also increases the risk for ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb), and chronic abdominal pain.

Treatment
Is mostly with antibiotics.
However, a sensitivity test has to be done first. Other tests may be required, including a scan, biopsy or laparoscopy.

Your partner must be treated as well and you may need to temporarily abstain from sex

Prevention
1. Use protection
2. Get tested
3. Ask your partner to get tested
4. Take and complete your medication
5. Stop douching

 

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