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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) Risks to Fertility
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection causing inflammation of the uterus (womb), fallopian tubes and other reproductive organs. The disease is a serious complication of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, caused when bacteria move upward from a woman's vagina or cervix into her reproductive organs.
PID can have serious, long-lasting effects. Unfortunately, while PID is one of the most common causes of infertility among women, its impact is often underestimated.
PID affects more than 800,000 women in the United States each year, one in 10 of whom develops infertility, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, a recent Johns Hopkins Children's Center study found that when comparing the perceptions of pelvic inflammatory disease among teen girls and their parents, the parents seriously underestimated the emotional and medical impact this sexually transmitted disease has on teenagers.
The study, published in the British Medical Journal: Sexually Transmitted Infections, found that parents viewed PID and related complications as less burdensome than teenagers did and believed PID affected teens less than teens themselves said it did. Butt he burden is great: PID can damage the fallopian tubes and tissues in and near the uterus and ovaries. This can lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy in the fallopian tube or elsewhere outside of the womb), abscess formation and chronic pelvic pain.
Get Prompt Treatment for PID
Symptoms of PID are often subtle or mild, so the disease can be hard to diagnose. If you have lower abdominal pain, see your doctor immediately to be examined for evidence of gonorrheal or chlamydial infection. Pelvic ultrasounds may be helpful in diagnosing PID, and laparoscopy may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
Pelvic inflammatory disease can be cured with several types of antibiotics; however, treatment does not reverse any damage that has already occurred to the reproductive organs. That it why it is important to seek treatment immediately to prevent severe damage to the reproductive organs. The longer a woman delays treatment for PID, the more likely she is to become infertile or to have a future ectopic pregnancy because of damage to the fallopian tubes.