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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a term used to describe an infection that affects the fallopian tubes, ovaries and the body of the uterus. This is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in women. The age group at the highest risk is sexually active women from 15 to 25 years old.

Symptoms

There are sometimes no symptoms to be found. Symptoms that do show may include lower abdominal pain, vaginal odor, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, cramps, menstrual pain, irregular menstrual bleeding, heavy periods, nausea and vomiting. Other symptoms include fever, fatigue, painful intercourse, bleeding after intercourse, urethritis, abdominal mass, and painful urination.

Causes

PID is caused by an infection. The most common causes of pelvic inflammatory disease are Chlamydia and gonorrhea. These two causes, however produce the fewest symptoms. They are most commonly spread through sexual contact. Streptococcal, staphylococcal and E. coli bacteria may also be responsible, and are introduced through the placement of an IUD or after childbirth, when the cervix is open. Women who douche have greater risk of developing PID than women who don't.

Cautions

PID can lead to infertility, miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy if not treated. Hospitalization may be required if you develop pelvic inflammatory disease while pregnant. Left long enough, it can become life-threatening.

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