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Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
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Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

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Screening and diagnosis

Doctors diagnosis PID based on signs and symptoms, a pelvic exam, and an analysis of vaginal discharge and cervical cultures.

During the pelvic exam, your doctor uses a cotton swab to take samples from your vagina and cervix. The samples are sent to a laboratory for analysis to determine what organism is causing the infection.

To confirm the diagnosis or to determine how widespread the infection is, your doctor may advise a pelvic laparoscopy. During this procedure, your doctor inserts a thin, lighted instrument through a small incision in your abdomen to view your pelvic organs.

Complications

Untreated PID may cause scar tissue and collections of infected fluid (abscesses) to develop in your fallopian tubes. This damage can lead to chronic pelvic pain and may seriously affect your reproductive health. Complications may include:

  • Ectopic pregnancy. PID is the major risk factor for tubal (ectopic) pregnancy. In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg can't make its way through the fallopian tube to implant in the uterus. Ectopic pregnancies can cause massive, life-threatening bleeding and require emergency surgery.

  • Infertility. PID is the most common preventable cause of infertility. PID may damage your reproductive organs and cause infertility — the inability to become pregnant after one year of unprotected sex.

  • Peritonitis. PID can also lead to peritonitis, an inflammation of the membrane that lines your abdominal cavity. Peritonitis is always serious and needs intensive treatment with antibiotics.

  • Blood poisoning. In rare cases, if bacteria invade your bloodstream, PID can lead to blood poisoning (septicemia or sepsis) and inflammation and infection of your joints.

 

 

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Last Modified : 03/15/08 01:44 AM