Skip to content

Women's Health

Font Size

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease - Cause

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is caused by bacteria entering the reproductive organs through the cervix. When the cervix is infected, bacteria from the vagina can more easily get into and infect the uterus and fallopian tubes.

Sexually transmitted infections

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is usually caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that infects the cervix camera.gif.

When the cervix, which connects the upper vagina to the uterus, is infected with an STI, other bacteria in the vagina can more easily get into and infect the uterus and fallopian tubes.

The most common STIs that cause PID are gonorrhea and chlamydia.

PID caused by chlamydia may have milder symptoms or no symptoms (compared with PID caused by gonorrhea), which can delay diagnosis. PID caused by chlamydia is most common among teenagers and young adult women.

Bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a drop in the vagina's "good" organisms and an increase in its potentially "bad" organisms.

When this happens and the problem organisms spread into the uterus and fallopian tubes, PID can result. BV is not sexually transmitted.

PID and intrauterine devices (IUDs)

Inserting an IUD while there is infection in the vagina or the cervix can cause PID. This is especially likely if bacterial vaginosis or an STI is present at the time of insertion.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    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.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    hands on abdomen
    Test your knowledge.
    womans hand on abdomen
    Are you ready for baby?
     
    birth control pills
    Learn about your options.
    insomnia
    Is it menopause or something else?
     
    woman in bathtub
    Slideshow
    Doctor discussing screening with patient
    VIDEO
     
    bp app on smartwatch and phone
    Slideshow
    iud
    Expert views
     

    Send yourself a link to download the app.

    Loading ...

    Please wait...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    Blood pressure check
    Slideshow
    hot water bottle on stomach
    Quiz
     
    question
    Assessment
    Attractive young woman standing in front of mirror
    Quiz