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How do you know if you have Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?

Maria Fernanda
6 min read

The female reproductive system is made up of the external genitalia and the internal genitalia, which in the face of various risk factors can develop disease, such as pelvic inflammatory disease.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a very common gynecological condition among women, which can be life threatening if not treated promptly.

Now, if you have begun to present bothersome symptoms in your genital area, you have to rule out the possibility of a PID. So how do you know if you have Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?

What is pelvic inflammatory disease?

In medical terms, pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection that begins in the lower genital tract and progresses to the internal female organs. Consequently, the woman may present with salpingitis, Tubo-ovarian abscesses, and pelvic peritonitis.

In other words, it is an infection that affects the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and the pelvic cavity. It is worth mentioning that if the woman does not receive treatment complications may arise.

How do you know if you have Pelvic Inflammatory Disease? – Wellness and Health
Pelvic pain

Thus, the most frequent complications are infertility, chronic pelvic pain and the probability that in the future the woman may suffer from ectopic pregnancy is tripled.

For this reason, it is important to prevent the disease with measures that reduce risk factors, some tips that you can apply are:

  • Go to the gynecological consultation twice a year, especially if you are intimate with your partner.

  • Treat any vaginal infection.

  • Research invasive birth control methods.

Causes of pelvic inflammatory disease

Basically, as it is an infection, the main cause is the bacterial proliferation in the internal female sexual organs, which are sterile, except during menstruation.

How do you know if you have Pelvic Inflammatory Disease? – Wellness and Health

In turn, bacterial causes can be classified into endogenous and exogenous. The former correspond to microorganisms that are part of the normal flora of the female tract, while the latter are pathogenic microorganisms.

Thus, the exogenous causative agents involved in most cases are the following.

  • Neisseria gonorrhoea, causes gonorrhea.

  • Chlamydia trachomatis, causes a sexually transmitted disease.

However, how do bacteria cause pelvic infection? Naturally, the internal female organs have protective barriers against noxas, the main defense that keeps the batteries away is through the endocervical canal and the cervical mucus.

This last structure maintains the division between the vagina and the uterus and the annexes, but when it is violated the bacteria can ascend from the vagina through the endocervical canal to reach the uterus.

Specifically, they colonize the endometrium, the innermost layer of the uterus, although if the bacteria continue to proliferate they can infect the fallopian tubes, the ovaries and ultimately the entire pelvic cavity.

It should be noted that this series of events is facilitated if the woman has risk factors, such as.

Placement of intrauterine devices (IUD) as a method of contraception. This occurs if the laying technique is inefficient, as it could carry bacteria from the outside to the inside.

  • Recurrent vaginal infections

  • Multiple sexual partners

  • Vaginal showers

  • Malnutrition

  • Low socioeconomic conditions

Symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease

The most important thing is that you can identify the symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease. The symptoms that may occur are.

  • Quantified fever greater than or equal to 40 ° C

  • Abnormal uterine bleeding

  • Yellow, greenish, and foul-smelling vaginal discharge

  • Pain in the belly

  • Sickness

  • Vomiting

  • Lack of appetite

On the other hand, these symptoms are not specific to the disease, because they could be present in other female abnormalities. From this it follows, the importance of going to a professional so that you can make differential diagnoses.

Likewise, other pathologies that can be confused with this disease are acute appendicitis, irritable bowel syndrome, ectopic pregnancy, endometriosis, ruptured ovarian cyst, among others.

When to see a doctor?

For its part, the warning signs that should make you go to a consultation with a general practitioner or specialist are.

  • High fever that does not decrease with the administration of antipyretics and is accompanied by chills.

  • Severe pelvic pain, that is, pain in the belly and back area

  • Pain with sexual intercourse

  • Bleeding after sexual intercourse

  • Foul vaginal discharge

What does the doctor do in the consultation?

At the same time, you have to be prepared for the physical examination when you go to a gynecologist. The exam consists of palpating your abdomen to identify the location of pain.

Next, they must perform a complete gynecological examination, this includes the placement of a vaginal speculum, vaginal examination and performance of a transvaginal ultrasound.

In relation to, the placement of a speculum is so that the doctor can visualize the walls of the vagina, which should be rough and pink if you have not had children and, smooth and pink if you have already had several vaginal deliveries.

Also, vaginal discharge is inspected as well as discharge color, consistency, amount, and odor.

Also, they evaluate the appearance of the neck, if it is not bluish or inflamed. Subsequently, it is the moment of the vaginal examination, which consists of the introduction of the examiner's fingers into the vagina.

The important parameters in pelvic inflammatory disease during touch is the finding of pain when the examiner moves the cervix from one side to the other.

Likewise, the touch is to verify if the sides of the neck present a bulge, because it means that it is occupied by liquid that normally should not be.

How do you diagnose pelvic inflammatory disease?

The diagnosis of this disease is clinical, it means that the diagnosis is obtained by the signs and symptoms that the patient presents. Additionally, ultrasound is a diagnostic aid.

On the other hand, there are consensuses and established medical criteria so that experts in the area can make the diagnosis.

It can be noted that some of the findings that your GP may mention with ultrasound is the visualization of the fallopian tubes, these should not normally be seen. Also, the presence of fluid in the pelvic cavity.

Treatment of pelvic inflammatory disease

In the first place, the treatment depends on the general condition of the patient, as well as what is seen in the ultrasound, since in the face of significantly dangerous findings such as a Tubo-ovarian abscess, the behaviors are different and hospitalization is warranted.

Generally speaking, the treatment for this disease is antibiotics as the first line of drugs. In extreme cases, surgery must be added to the treatment, this depends on the magnitude of the infection.