Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a serious sexually transmitted disease (STD). PID is an actual infection that originates from another infection (usually from another STD) that has not been treated. If this original STD is not cured PID can result.

So what is it then?

It is a bacterial infection that arises from an untreated STD such as Chlamydia or Gonorrhoea. If these or similar bacterial infections which affect the reproductive organs go untreated, the bacteria will travel up into the pelvic cavity, then into the fallopian tubes, infecting both of these organs.

Symptoms

* Pay attention to any changes that occur within your lower half (unusual discharge, unusual odour etc).
* Pelvic pain.
* Fever
- However this could also be a sign that you are suffering from endometriosis (if you are having these symptoms ask your doctor about this also).

What happens if it goes untreated?

If PID is left untreated the infection of the fallopian tubes can be damaged through the infection scarring the tubes. This can then block the access of an ovum (a female egg) and a sperm from reaching each other for fertilisation, and can result in infertility. So you can see that this is one infection that is potentially damaging to a female's health and fertility. This tubal scarring can also lead to an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy that occurs within the fallopian tubes and needs surgical removal (unless a spontaneous abortion occurs first).

What else can cause it?

- Douching (this is when some kind of fluid is placed up into the vagina). Douching can potentially cause bacteria to travel up into the upper reproductive tract and into the fallopian tubes, where an infection can take place. Experts highly advise against this practice. You may think you are cleaning yourself, but in fact your body does this naturally through normal vaginal secretions, and douching only impedes the body's natural protection against bacteria.

- There appears to be a connection to smoking cigarettes and the development of PID, along with premature menopause. So there's another reason to quit smoking.

Prevention

- Safe sex!

- Use condoms, unless you are in a trustworthy monogamous relationship (this means you are only having sex with one person). Remember if you don't use a condom correctly, it's easy for them to fail.

- Try not to have sex with too many different people. Although condoms do protect, they cannot 100% protect you from a STD, although they are the highest protection you can get (around 99%). During foreplay if a males penis is rubbing against your vagina (without penetration and without a condom, you are putting yourself at risk to some degree of catching a STD).

- Louise Ganey




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