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
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.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010). Chlamydia-CDC fact sheet. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/stdfact-chlamydia.htm.
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.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Jeanne Marrazzo, MD, MPH - Infectious Disease
December 15, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
December 15, 2010
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