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Women's Health

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Your Guide to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

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What Problems Could Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Cause?

Recurrent episodes of PID can result in scarring of the fallopian tubes, which can lead to infertility, ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, or chronic pelvic pain. Infertility occurs in about one in eight women who have PID.

Can Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Be Prevented?

PID is completely preventable. The number one cause of PID is untreated STDs (also called STIs, sexually transmitted infections). Steps you can take to prevent PID include:

  • Avoid multiple sexual partners.
  • Use barrier methods of birth control (condoms and/or a diaphragm) and spermicides for every single act of intercourse -- even if you use birth control pills.
  • Avoid IUDs if you have multiple sexual partners.
  • Seek treatment immediately if you notice signs of PID or any sexually transmitted disease, including unusual vaginal discharge, pelvic pain, or bleeding between periods.
  • Have regular gynecologic check-ups and screenings since many cervical infections can be identified and treated before they spread to the internal reproductive organs.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on January 22, 2015
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