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Pelvic inflammatory disease

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Classification & external resources
ICD-10 N70.-N77.
ICD-9 614-616
DiseasesDB 9748
eMedicine emerg/410 

Pelvic inflammatory disease (or disorder) (PID) is a generic term for inflammation of the female uterus, fallopian tubes, and/or ovaries as it progresses to scar formation with adhesions to nearby tissues and organs. This may lead to tissue necrosis with/or without abscess formation. Pus can be released into the peritoneum. Two thirds of patients with laparoscopic evidence of previous PID were not aware they had had PID.[1] PID is often associated with sexually transmitted diseases, as it is a common result of such infections. PID is a vague term and can refer to viral, fungal, parasitic, though most often bacterial infections. PID should be classified by affected organs, the stage of the infection, and the organism(s) causing it. Although an STD is often the cause, other routes are possible, including lymphatic, postpartum, postabortal (either miscarriage or abortion) or intrauterine device (IUD) related, and hematogenous spread.



In the United States, more than one million women are affected by PID each year, and the rate is highest with teenagers. Over 100,000 women become infertile in the US each year from PID.[2] N. gonorrhoea is isolated in only 40-60% of women with acute salpingitis.[3] C. trachomatis was estimated by current obgyn 9th ed to be the cause in about 60% of cases of salpingitis, which may lead to PID. It is unsure how much is due to a single organism and how much is due to multiple organisms; many other pathogens that are in normal vaginal flora become involved in PID. 10% of women in one study had asymptomatic Chlamydia trachomatis infection and 65% had asymptomatic infection with Neisseria gonorrhoeae.[3] It was noted in one study that 10-40% of untreated women with N. gonorrhoea develop PID and 20-40% of women infected with C. trachomitis developed PID.[1] PID is the leading cause of infertility. "A single episode of PID results in infertility in 13% of women."[1] This rate of infertility increases with each infection.


There may be no actual symptoms of PID. If there are symptoms then fever, cervical motion tenderness, lower abdominal pain, new or different discharge, painful intercourse, or irregular menstrual bleeding may be noted. It is important to note that PID can occur and cause serious harm without causing any noticeable symptoms. Laparoscopic identification is helpful in diagnosing tubal disease, 65-90% positive predictive value in patients with presumed PID.[3] Regular Sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing is important for prevention. Treatment is usually started empirically because of the terrible complications. Definitive criteria include: histopathologic evidence of endometritis, thickened filled fallopian tubes, or laparoscopic findings. Gram-stain/smear becomes important in identification of rare and possibly more serious organisms.[1]

Differential diagnosis

Appendicitis, ectopic pregnancy, septic abortion, hemorrhagic or ruptured ovarian cysts or tumors, twisted ovarian cyst, degeneration of a myoma, and acute enteritis must be considered. Pelvic inflammatory disease is more likely to occur when there is a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, recent sexual contact, recent onset of menses, or an IUD in place or if the partner has a sexually transmitted disease.

Acute pelvic inflammatory disease is highly unlikely when recent intercourse has not taken place or an IUD is not being used. A sensitive serum pregnancy test should be obtained to rule out ectopic pregnancy. Culdocentesis will differentiate hemoperitoneum (ruptured ectopic pregnancy or hemorrhagic cyst) from pelvic sepsis (salpingitis, ruptured pelvic abscess, or ruptured appendix).

Pelvic and vaginal ultrasounds are helpful in the differential diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy of over six weeks. Laparoscopy is often utilized to diagnose pelvic inflammatory disease, and it is imperative if the diagnosis is not certain or if the patient has not responded to antibiotic therapy after 48 hours.

No single test has adequate sensitivity and specificity to diagnose pelvic inflammatory disease. A large mulitsite U.S. study found that cervical motion tenderness as a minimum clinical criterion increases the sensitivity of the CDC diagnostic criteria from 83% to 95%. However, even the modified 2002 CDC criteria does not identify women with subclinical disease.[4]


Although the PID infection itself may be cured, effects of the infection may be permanent. This makes early identification by someone who can prescribe appropriate curative treatment so important in the prevention of damage to the reproductive system. Since early gonococcal infection may be asymptomatic, regular screening of individuals at risk for common agents (history of multiple partners, history of any unprotected sex, or people with symptoms) or because of certain procedures (post pelvic operation, postpartum, miscarriage or abortion). Prevention is also very important in maintaining viable reproduction capabilities.

If the initial infection is mostly in the lower tract, after treatment the person may have few difficulties. If the infection is in the fallopian tubes or ovaries, more serious complications are more likely to occur.


PID can cause scarring inside the reproductive organs, which can later cause serious complications, including chronic pelvic pain, infertility (difficulty becoming pregnant), ectopic pregnancy (the leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths in adult females), and other dangerous complications of pregnancy. Multiple infections and infections that are treated later are more likely to result in complications.

Infertile women may wish to see a specialist, because there may be a possibility in restoring fertility after scarring. Traditionally tuboplastic surgery was the main approach to correct tubal obstruction or adhesion formation, however success rates tended to be very limited. In vitro fertilization (IVF) was developed to bypass tubal problems and has become the main treatment for patients who want to become pregnant.


Treatment depends on the cause and generally involves use of antibiotic therapy. If the patient has not improved within two to three days after beginning treatment with the antibiotics, they should return to the hospital for further treatment. Drugs should also be given orally and/or intravaneously to the patient while in the hospital to begin treatment immediately to increase the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment. Hospitalization may be necessary if Tubo-ovarian abscess, very ill, immunodeficient, pregnancy, incompetence, or because this or something else life threatening can not be ruled out. Treating partners for STD's is a very important part of treatment and prevention. Anyone with PID and partners of patients with PID since six months prior to diagnosis should be treated to prevent reinfection. Psychotherapy is highly recommended to women diagnosed with PID as the fear of redeveloping the disease after being cured may exist. It is important for a patient to communicate any issues and/or uncertainties they may have to a doctor, especially a specialist such as a gynecologist, and in doing so, to seek follow-up care.

A systematic review of the literature related to PID treatment was performed prior to the 2006 CDC sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines. Strong evidence suggests that neither site nor route of antibiotic administration affects the short or long-term major outcome of women with mild or moderate disease. Data on women with severe disease was inadequate to influence the results of the study. [5]


  • Risk reduction against sexually transmitted diseases through abstinence or barrier methods such as condoms, see human sexual behavior for other listings.
  • Going to the doctor immediately if symptoms of PID, sexually transmitted diseases appear, or after learning that a current or former sex partner has, or might have had a sexually transmitted disease.
  • Getting regular gynecological (pelvic) exams with STD testing to screen for symptomless PID.[6]
  • Discussing sexual history with a trusted physician in order to get properly screened for sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Regularly scheduling STD testing with a physician and discussing which tests will be performed that session.
  • Getting a STD history from your current partner and insisting they be tested and treated before intercourse.
  • Understanding when a partner says that they have been STD tested they usually mean chlamydia and gonorrhea in the US, but that those are not all of the sexually transmissible diseases.
  • Treating partners so you don't become reinfected or they do not infect another.

Other diseases that can lead to or be involved in PID

  1. Salpingitis, any infection of the fallopian tubes.
  2. Tubo-ovarian abscess an abscess of the fallopian tube or ovary.
  3. Endometritis
  4. Pelvic peritonitis
  5. The Dalkon Shield (withdrawn from the market in 1975 for this reason)
  6. Bacterial Vaginosis


  1. ^ a b c d Loscalzo, Joseph; Andreoli, Thomas E.; Cecil, Russell L.; Carpenter, Charles A.; Griggs, Robert C. (2001). Cecil essentials of medicine. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders. ISBN 0-7216-8179-4. 
  2. ^ STD Facts - Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Retrieved on 2007-11-23.
  3. ^ a b c Lauren Nathan; DeCherney, Alan H.; Pernoll, Martin L. (2003). Current obstetric & gynecologic diagnosis & treatment. New York: Lange Medical Books/McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-8385-1401-4. 
  4. ^ Blenning CE, Muench J, Judkins DZ, Roberts KT (2007). "Clinical inquiries. Which tests are most useful for diagnosing PID?". J Fam Pract 56 (3): 216–20. PMID 17343812.
  5. ^ Walker CK, Wiesenfeld HC (2007). "Antibiotic therapy for acute pelvic inflammatory disease: the 2006 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines". Clin. Infect. Dis. 44 Suppl 3: S111–22. doi:10.1086/511424. PMID 17342664.
  6. ^ Smith KJ, Cook RL, Roberts MS (2007). "Time from sexually transmitted infection acquisition to pelvic inflammatory disease development: influence on the cost-effectiveness of different screening intervals". Value Health 10 (5): 358–66. doi:10.1111/j.1524-4733.2007.00189.x. PMID 17888100.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Pelvic_inflammatory_disease". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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