by Badash M

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

(PID; Salpingitis)


Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a serious infection of the female reproductive organs. This includes the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. PID can cause scar tissue to form in the pelvis and fallopian tubes. This damage may result in infertility , a future tubal pregnancy , or chronic pelvic pain.
Female Reproductive Organs
Fallopian Tube, Ovary, and Uterus
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


PID is caused by specific bacteria. The most common bacteria that initiate PID are gonorrhea and chlamydia .

Risk Factors

PID is more common in women aged 15-24 years. Other factors that may increase your chance of PID:
  • Current or previous sexually-transmitted disease (STD)
  • Multiple sex partners
  • Sexual intercourse with a partner who has an STD
  • Intercourse without the protection of a condom
  • Having an intrauterine device (IUD) recently insterted for birth control


Women with PID do not always have symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they may include:
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Vaginal discharge with a foul odor
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Painful intercourse
  • Painful urination
  • Vaginal bleeding


Because symptoms are often subtle or nonexistent, PID can be difficult to diagnose. There are no specific tests for PID.
If PID is suspected, the doctor will ask about your symptoms, as well as your sexual history, partners, and birth control methods. A physical and pelvic exam will be done. The pelvic exam is key to making the diagnosis. Samples from the vagina or cervix may be taken to help diagnose the problem.
Tests may include:
  • Cultures of the cervix to test for STDs
  • Blood tests to check pregnancy status, and signs of infection
  • Laparoscopy—insertion of a thin, lighted telescopic tube through a small incision in the abdomen to look at the reproductive organs
Imaging tests may be done with ultrasound or MRI scan .


The primary treatment for PID is antibiotics. Your doctor may prescribe more than one type of antibiotic to treat the problem. Finish the entire dose of each medication, even if your symptoms disappear during treatment.
You may be hospitalized if the diagnosis is uncertain, you do not improve, or your symptoms are severe. In the hospital, antibiotics can be given by IV. In certain situations, surgery may be required to remove infected or damaged tissue.


To help reduce your chance of PID:
  • Use a latex condom each time you have sexual intercourse.
  • Discuss birth control options with your doctor. Ask which methods may decrease your risk of PID.
  • Seek immediate treatment for symptoms, such as unusual vaginal discharge or bleeding.
  • Limit the number of sexual partners.
  • Have regular screening tests for STDs.
If you are diagnosed with PID or another STD:
  • Do not have sexual intercourse until after the treatment is complete, symptoms have resolved, and your sexual partner has been treated.
  • Notify all sexual partners. They will also need to be treated.


American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases


The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Women's Health Matters


2010 STD treatment guidelines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Updated March 3, 2015. Accessed May 29, 2015.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)—CDC fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Updated May 4, 2015. Accessed May 29, 2015.
Pelvic inflammatory disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated May 22, 2015. Accessed May 29, 2015.
Pelvic inflammatory disease. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at: Updated November 29, 2011. Accessed May 29, 2015.

Revision Information

Health Library Search

Only show results from the selected categories.

1 Conjunctivitis condition

Conjunctivitis is swelling and irritation in the eye. It affects the tissue that covers the eye and lines the inner surface of the eyelid. This tissue is called the conju...

2 Gonorrhea condition

Gonorrhea is type of sexually transmitted disease (STD)....

4 Urethritis condition

Urethritis is an inflammation, infection, or irritation of the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine out of the body from the bladder....

Pericarditis is an inflammation of the sac around the heart. In some cases, the inflammation may cause fluid to build up in the sac and make it difficult for the heart to...

Septic arthritis is a serious infection of the joints caused by bacteria. This infection causes the joint to be filled with pus cells. These pus cells release substances ...

Newborn conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the surface or covering of the eye. It generally occurs in the first month of life. The earlier newborn conjunctivitis is id...

Pericarditis is irritation and swelling of the pericardium, which is the thin sac that surrounds the heart. Extra fluid that builds up between the 2 layers of the pericar...

The endocardium is a thin layer of membrane (tissue) that covers the inner surface of the heart. Bacterial endocarditis is an infection of this membrane. Infection occurs...

10 Osteomyelitis condition

Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone. The infection may be: In adults, the pelvis and the bones of the back are the most common sites. In children, the long bones a...