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Women's Health

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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease - What Increases Your Risk

You are more likely to get pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) if you:

  • Are at risk for sexually transmitted infection (STI). Sexually active teens and young women have the highest rate of STIs. Having sex without using a condom increases your risk for STIs.
  • Have had PID before. If you have had PID once, your reproductive tract may be less able to fight a new infection because of scar tissue from past PID.
  • Have had chlamydia before. A second infection can cause more irritation and pelvic organ damage that is worse than the first time.
  • Douche. Doctors advise against douching, because it can cause vaginal and pelvic infections.

Some medical procedures can increase your risk of PID by introducing bacteria into the reproductive tract. These include:

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  • Scraping the lining of the uterus (D&C) or taking a tissue sample (biopsy).
  • Inserting an IUD. Your risk of infection can be reduced if:
    • You are tested and treated for STIs and bacterial vaginosis (if detected) before IUD insertion.
    • The insertion is done carefully to minimize the chance of infection (clean technique).
  • Examining the uterus or fallopian tubes with a lighted viewing tube (hysteroscopy) or with an X-ray using dye injected into the uterus and fallopian tubes (hysterosalpingogram).
  • Inducing abortion.

In some cases, PID can spread from tuberculosis bacteria that have spread to the pelvic area.

PID is rare in women who aren't sexually active, don't have menstrual periods, are pregnant, or have had their uterus or ovaries removed.

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.
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