You might have Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or PID if you have really bad cramps or flu like symptoms during that time of the month. And you should know that PID may cause infertility. But you don’t always have these symptoms since PID can manifest acutely, chronically, or silently.
If PID is acute, the symptoms may be so severe, you may need to go to the emergency room or be hospitalized. Untreated PID can be deadly. If you have any doubts, call your doctor or proceed to the hospital emergency room.
If PID is chronic, the symptoms may be vague or barely noticeable. Diagnosis may be delayed and difficult.
If PID is silent, there may be no symptoms at all. PID may only be diagnosed in this case if you try to get pregnant unsuccessfully.
Another difficulty in diagnosing PID is that the symptoms are the same for other diseases like endometriosis including infertility. That’s why it is so important to see a doctor if you experience any symptoms of PID.
Severe symptoms should be treated immediately but even if the symptoms are barely noticeable, you should still see a doctor for the following symptoms:
- severe pain in your lower abdomen
- signs of shock (like feeling faint)
- fever over 101 F
There are less severe symptoms that could still indicate PID. These include:
- pain the lower abdomen
- pelvic pain during intercourse
- lower back pain
- irregular menstrual bleeding
- unusual vaginal discharge
- unusual urinary discharge or problems with urinating
- flu like symptoms
- stomach upset including vomiting and diarrhea
PID may cause blocked fallopian tubes. PID may also cause other ailments like ectopic pregnancy, chronic pelvic pain, tubal or ovarian abscesses, adhesions, peritonitis (infection of a silk-like lining that covers the abdominal organs) and perihepatitis (inflammation of the coating of the liver).
You might wonder what causes PID. PID is caused from a STD like chlamydia or gonorrhea. The risk of getting PID is greater when the cervix is open. The risk of getting infected increases after childbirth, miscarriage, abortion, endometrial biopsy, IUD insertion, HSG and hysteroscopy, and artificial insemination. Between 10% and 15% of women with acute PID become infertile.
PID can be diagnosed by assessing your signs and symptoms, analyzing vaginal and cervical cultures, conducting urine and blood tests, performing a pelvic exam and evaluating vaginal discharge. While vaginal cultures will usually uncover an STD or other bacterial infection, they will not always detect an infection that has traveled to the uterus and fallopian tubes. Other tests your doctor may use to help diagnose PID include pelvic ultrasound, falloposcopy, laparoscopy and endometrial biopsy.
Since PID is caused mostly by a STD, it is preventable. Before undergoing any fertility treatment, you should be tested for PID. Oral antibiotics are the usual treatment. Even if your symptoms disappear, you should complete your antibiotic regime. In addition, it may be necessary for your partner to be tested and treated for the STD that caused your PID. The reason both partners need to be tested and treated before any fertility treatment is there may be an undiagnosed STD. Invasive fertility testing, like HSG and hysteroscopy, and fertility treatments that involve the cervix and uterus like insemination or IVF, can lead to PID if you have an undiagnosed STD.
Be sure to speak to Dr. Amos Madanes about testing for a STD before undergoing any fertility treatments at the Midwest Fertility Center.