Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) - HE4229
Detailed answers to common questions about pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a curable infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes caused by sexually transmissible infections (STIs).
The full resource:
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection in a woman’s uterus (the womb) and fallopian tubes (the tubes leading from the ovaries to the uterus).
PID can be painful. It can be serious if it isn’t treated quickly. It could stop you from being able to have children.
How do you get PID?
PID is usually caused by sexually transmissible infections (STIs), such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea.
- You can get STIs by having sex (vaginal, oral, or anal) without a condom. If the bacteria from an STI pass from the vagina and cervix into the uterus and fallopian tubes, they can cause PID.
- STIs are very contagious – they are passed on by having unprotected sex.
It’s important to go to the doctor after you’ve had unprotected sex with someone who might have an STI.
What are the symptoms?
Often you won’t know you have PID, but sometimes there might be:
- pain in the lower stomach or back
- pain during sex
- unusual discharge from the vagina
- heavier and more painful periods or spotting (bleeding
- between periods)
These signs are especially important if you notice them after having unprotected sex with someone who could have an STI.
How do I find out if I have PID?
Go to your doctor or the sexual health clinic. The doctor will talk to you about your symptoms. They will examine your vagina and take some samples to test.
Don’t wait – it’s important to get treatment quickly.
If I have PID, do I need to tell my sexual partner?
Yes, tell your partner or partners immediately. It’s likely your PID was caused by an STI. Your partner may have the infection. If so, they must have a check-up and treatment. If you need help to tell your partner that you have PID, speak to a doctor or a nurse.
How do I get treated for PID?
- PID is treated with antibiotics. If your PID is severe, you may need to be in hospital for a couple of days.
- Make sure you take all the tablets you are given.
- Don’t have sex until you have finished taking all the tablets.
- Make sure your partner has a check-up and treatment – otherwise you could catch the STI again.
- If you don’t have a regular partner, advise all your partners from the last three months to get a sexual health check-up.
PID can be cured. You can also reduce your chances of getting it.
What happens if I don’t get treatment?
If you don’t get treated, you could have serious health problems in the future, such as:
- scarred and blocked fallopian tubes
- infertility (being unable to get pregnant because of blocked fallopian tubes)
- an ectoptic pregnancy, where a fertilised egg grows outside the uterus (usually in the fallopian tube). This can be dangerous.
What can I do to stop me getting PID again?
- Talk to your partner about STIs and safe sex.
- Always use condoms to protect you from getting STIs.
- Use a new condom every time you have sex. Wash your hands and use a new condom for vaginal sex after anal sex.
- Always wipe from front to back after going to the toilet.
Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully after having:
- a baby, a miscarriage, or an abortion
- an operation such as a dilation and curettage (D&C) (usually after a miscarriage)
- an IUD (interuterine contraceptive device) put in or taken out.
Where can I find more information?
- Your medical centre or doctor. Some centres have free sexual health services for people under 25. Ask your doctor.
- Family planning clinic. This service is free for New Zealand residents under 22. Call 0800 4636 5463 or go to www.familyplanning.org.nz
- Student health services at your university, polytechnic, or school.
- Healthline 0800 611 116