Exploring pelvic inflammatory disease: risks, signs, and protective measures

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection affecting the female reproductive organs. It occurs when sexually transmitted bacteria move from the vagina to the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. Dr. Garima Sawhney, a senior gynaecologist and co-founder of Pristyn Care, states that PID is typically caused by sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as gonorrhoea and chlamydia. Research from the Infectious Disease Clinic of North America reveals that if left untreated, approximately 10% of chlamydial infections and 40% of gonorrhoea infections progress to PID.
PID symptoms can range from mild to severe, including pelvic pain, unusual vaginal discharge, painful urination, irregular menstrual bleeding, and fever. Neglected PID can lead to severe consequences like infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and life-threatening ectopic pregnancies. Some women may not exhibit any symptoms, making diagnosis and treatment challenging. Consequently, PID may only be discovered when fertility issues or chronic pelvic pain arise. Shockingly, 1 in 8 women with a history of PID face difficulties conceiving, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Sawhney emphasises that sexually active women, especially those with multiple partners or a history of STIs, face a higher risk of PID. Adolescents and young adults are particularly vulnerable due to their likelihood of engaging in risky sexual behaviours. Prevention of PID involves practicing safe sex through consistent and correct condom use, regular STI testing, and immediate STI treatment. Douching should be avoided, as it can disrupt the natural vaginal flora and increase the risk of infections.
An early PID diagnosis allows for treatment with antibiotics. Completing the full antibiotic course, as prescribed by a healthcare provider, is crucial. Severe cases may necessitate hospitalisation and intravenous antibiotics. Surgery could be required if complications like abscesses or tubal damage occur. Therefore, timely intervention and safe sexual practices play pivotal roles in mitigating the risks associated with PID.

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