Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: What is it?

Pelvic inflammatory disease or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an inflammation induced by a polymicrobial infection, i.e. by several different types of germs involving the female upper genital tract, endometrium, fallopian tubes, ovaries or peritoneum. It usually affects young sexually active women.

Pelvic inflammatory disease is a major concern because it can cause some complications, such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain.

However, the problem can still occur despite a response to antimicrobial therapy, so that in the long term the results are worse than expected and reproductive complications continue to occur.

Prevalence of pelvic inflammatory disease

Epidemiologically speaking, reports indicate that there have been more than 750,000 cases in the United States alone, predominantly in women between the ages of 15 and 29.

In fact, it is believed that up to 4% of American women will have had the disease at some point, and that one in eight of those affected will have had difficulty becoming pregnant.

However, it is difficult to pinpoint the actual incidence of PID accurately, as there are often no symptoms and it is often asymptomatic, so a definitive diagnosis will be difficult to achieve.

In any case. Published data suggest that the rate of PID in the United States is declining due to increased screening for treatment of chlamydial infection and gonorrhea.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Risk Factors

Risk factors for the disease are those associated with Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), including age, having new or multiple partners, history of STDs, or poor condom use.

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Vaginal douching contributes to changes in vaginal flora, alterations in the cervical mucosal barrier or epithelial damage, so it is also a risk factor.

There is an increased risk of PID associated with the intrauterine device (IUD), especially during the first three weeks after insertion, although this risk can be reduced with screening and treatment for STDs prior to insertion.