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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and Chlamydia

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the uterus, the ovaries, and the tubes that carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus (fallopian tubes). Up to 15 out of 100 women who have untreated chlamydia will develop PID.1

PID may cause scarring of the fallopian tubes. Scarring can block the tubes and prevent fertilization. About 1 out of 10 women cannot become pregnant after having PID once. After having PID three or more times, as many as 7 out of 10 women become infertile.2

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Scarring of the fallopian tubes can prevent the fertilized egg from going to the uterus. When this happens, the egg may implant outside of the uterus. This is called an ectopic pregnancy. Women who have untreated chlamydia have a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy than other women. Ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening.

To reduce the risk of infertility after having PID, use a condom every time you have sex. Having fewer sex partners also helps prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Having multiple sex partners is one of the risk factors for chlamydia infection.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010). Chlamydia-CDC fact sheet. Available online:

  2. Soper DE (2010). Infections of the female pelvis. In Mandell, Douglas and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, 7th ed., vol. 1, pp. 1511-1519. Philadelphia: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Jeanne Marrazzo, MD, MPH - Infectious Disease
Last Revised December 15, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 15, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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