Last Updated on July 29, 2021 by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT
How do you get Pelvic Inflammatory Disease/How can you get PID? Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Causes:
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a serious bacterial infection of the reproductive organs. People without uteruses/fallopian tubes cannot develop PID, and it is not contagious (however, people with penises can carry the bacteria that was the initial cause of PID).
Many different types of bacteria can cause PID. PID usually starts in the vagina via an existing sexually transmitted infection. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia are the most common causes of PID.
You can get PID without having an STI. Normal bacteria found in the vagina and on the cervix can sometimes cause PID.
The risk for developing PID is higher if you are exposed to infected secretions – especially infected semen – during menstruation, and ovulation, when the cervix is more open and mucus if more penetrable.
Douching can push bacteria into the pelvic organs and cause infection – it can also hide the signs of an infection. Any medical procedure that opens a cervix can allow bacteria to pass through the cervix into the uterus and fallopian tubes. These procedures can include: abortion, D&C (dilatation and curettage), and IUD (intrauterine device) insertion.
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How to tell if you have Pelvic Inflammatory Disease? PID Symptoms:
The primary symptom is pain in the lower abdomen. It may be so mild that you hardly notice it, or so strong that you may not even be able to stand. You may feel tightness or pressure in the reproductive organs, or an occasional dull ache. Additional symptoms may include:
- abnormal or foul discharge from the vagina or urethra
- pain or bleeding during or after intercourse
- irregular bleeding or spotting
- increased menstrual cramps
- increased pain during ovulation
- frequent or burning urination
- inability to empty the bladder
- swollen abdomen
- sudden high fever that comes and goes
- swollen lymph nodes
- lack of appetite
- nausea or vomiting
- pain around the kidneys or liver
- lower back or leg pain
- feelings of weakness, tiredness, or depression
- diminished desire to have sex
How to know if you have PID? Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Tests:
If one knows which organisms are caused the PID, diagnosis can be quick, however, pinpointing the organism often takes time and multiple tests which are not always readily available.
Sometimes organisms infecting the uterus and fallopian tubes don’t show up in a cervical culture. Blood tests can help indicate whether you have an infection but won’t always tell which one. An endometrial biopsy can find hard-to-culture organisms, but if it is not done carefully, this procedure can spread germs from the cervix and vagina to the uterus.
In some cases, ultrasound, including vaginal ultrasound, may be useful. A definite diagnosis often requires laparoscopic surgery.
Relief spells (Rolaids?!) PID Treatment:
Antibiotics, when prescribed accurately, can clear the bacteria, but surgery may be necessary for organs damaged beyond repair.
What’s going to happen to me?!!?! Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Expectations:
Many experts recommend all people being treated for pelvic inflammatory disease be hospitalized for treatment, but not all physicians follow those recommendations. Most people are hospitalized in the event of an acute attack and receive intravenous antibiotics. Patients who are still not cured may have gotten the wrong antibiotic, have a pelvic abscess, or have been reinfected by a partner.
If sexually transmitted, all partners should be tested for all STIs, otherwise, a recurrence of PID can occur months after the initial infection is cleared, particularly if one does not maintain daily health routines or is under too much stress.
Things to be aware of… PID Complications:
When left untreated, PID can progressively infect other organs: the uterus, uterine lining, fallopian tubes and/or ovaries. PID can result in chronic pain and ectopic pregnancy or permanent sterility.
PID can also turn into peritonitis – a life-threatening condition – or into a tubo-ovarian abscess. It can affect the bowel or the liver. And in the most extreme cases, untreated PID can result in death.
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- Esser, M. M., R. Nortje, and P. Potter. “Meeting the needs of primary immunodeficiency patients in South Africa-some findings from the South African registry: PID article.” Current Allergy & Clinical Immunology 29.1 (2016): 56-61.
- Nortje, R., M. M. Esser, and P. Potter. “Meeting the needs of primary immunodeficiency patients in South Africa-some findings from the South African registry: PID article.” Current Allergy & Clinical Immunology 29.1 (2016): 56-61.
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- Gou, Xianfang, et al. “PID testing method suitable for process control of solar cells mass production.” International Journal of Photoenergy 2015 (2015).
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- Solomon, Michelle, et al. “Pelvic Inflammatory Disease in a Pediatric Emergency Department: Epidemiology and Treatment.” Pediatric emergency care (2017).
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- Esser, M. M., R. Nortje, and P. Potter. “Meeting the needs of primary immunodeficiency patients in South Africa-some findings from the South African registry: PID article.” Current Allergy & Clinical Immunology 29.1 (2016): 56-61.
- Nortje, R., M. M. Esser, and P. Potter. “Meeting the needs of primary immunodeficiency patients in South Africa-some findings from the South African registry: PID article.” Current Allergy & Clinical Immunology 29.1 (2016): 56-61.
- Oh, Jaewon, et al. “Application of flexible glass to prevent PID in PV modules.” 2015 IEEE 42nd Photovoltaic Specialist Conference (PVSC). IEEE, 2015.
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- Ross, Jonathan, et al. “2017 European guideline for the management of pelvic inflammatory disease.” International journal of STD & AIDS 29.2 (2018): 108-114.
- Haggerty, Catherine L., et al. “Identification of novel microbes associated with pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.” Sex Transm Infect 92.6 (2016): 441-446.
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PID can be gotten without sex, douching also causes it. I got PID as a virgin. When l sought for info on the net, every site but one wrote it was gotten through sex & l think this is because virgins are very uncommon in the West. More awareness should be sņr
Hi there –
Thank you so much for your comment! This is quite true, actually: A woman can get PID if bacteria move up from her vagina and infect her pelvic organs. Many different types of bacteria can cause PID. But, most cases of PID are caused by bacteria that cause 2 common sexually transmitted infections (STIs/STDs) — gonorrhea and chlamydia. It can take from a few days to a few months for an infection to travel up from the vagina to the pelvic organs.
You can get PID without having an STI as you mention. Normal bacteria found in the vagina and on the cervix can sometimes cause PID. And yes, you’re more likely to get PID if you douche. Women who douche may have a higher risk of developing PID compared with women who do not douche. Research has shown that douching changes the vaginal flora (organisms that live in the vagina) in harmful ways, and can force bacteria into the upper reproductive organs from the vagina. It can also hide the signs of an infection.
I don’t think we mention this anywhere in our briefs or our in-depths since we focus mainly on sexually transmitted diseases, however, as a result of this comment, I am going to include this information in both!!! Full disclosure is incredibly important to me and I believe, is necessary to maintain the integrity of The STI Project!!
Thanks again for your comment – we can break the stigma together because knowledge is power!!! 🙂
I also have been diagnosed with PID and no std’s have ever been found. I have practiced safe sex and have been tested regularly… It is the most frustrating and painfull thing I have ever had to deal with. There is little to no information available on the “RARE” causes that are not linked to the known stds. I feel like I am starting to ballte round two..I am terrified of going through the hell I have to with doctor’s…and to then have them tell me…”we really can’t explain it” It sucks!!!! There obviously needs to be more information out there. I know if left untreated It is going to get worse. I was not reinfected from my partner. He was tested and always negative and we practiced safe sex (condoms) to be safe. I havn’t had sex in over a year and I follow all the general saftey guidlines to stay safe.(No douching, tampons…etc) I did have an IUD and I also had a D&C done. This blows!
Hi Dusty Smith –
Yes, I can see why you’d be frustrated. As an untreated STD is the most typical cause of PID, doctors are quick to leave a diagnosis at that without considering other culprits. Although, the most important thing is not as much how it happened as opposed to making sure it gets treated. Albeit, making sure it doesn’t happen again entails understanding how it may have happened in the first place – a catch 22, if you will.
By what you’ve said, I’m inclined to think your IUD or the D&C are what prompted the PID (had enough acronyms yet?) – both procedures encompass surgical equipment being moved into the uterus and/or other female reproductive areas – those procedures can move healthy bacteria into areas where it is unable to be kept in check. There’s actually a new commercial out my boyfriend and I just saw about an IUD – one of the commercial’s main warnings was that there was a risk of PID. So, while I can’t tell you for sure these or one of those was the cause of your PID, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that were the origin.
I know how frustrating it can be to not know for sure! Just be certain to get treated and keep monitoring the treatment results – sometimes PID can be tricky to get rid of right away. Do your best to ignore any doctor’s insistence on an STD. They see more STD-related PID cases than others, so, that prompts them to lump everyone into the same category – as disheartening as that can be.
Best and keep us posted if you like – I’d love to hear that you’re doing well again!
I also have been diagnosed with PID, and also left in the dark. I get a regular check up every 6 months, never had a IUD or a D&C, only ever had 4 sexual partners. Tho I also understand you guys are aimed mainly at the STI/STD side of the PID problem but you’s seem like the only site that seems to know more information on the issue as the doctor haven’t explained anything to me and have only given me antibiotics. Please if you have any information I would greatly appreciate it, as its really taking a mental toll on me.
Could using tampons or not going to a doctor after having a miscarriage to make sure everything had come out caused me to end up with PID?
Or even a pap smear?
Sorry for all the questions I’m just really confused and scarred as I have no support and I’m all alone and have no one.
Hi Nardia –
Thanks for reaching out! First of all, you are not alone, although I know how much it must feel like you are right now. Please know, there are lots of other women who have and are going through this too – that doesn’t necessarily make it any easier, of course, but, I think, it helps to know you’re not some sort of horrible atypical individual facing this all by yourself.
So, the reason doctors are often very vague is because it’s so hard to tell what caused a women’s PID outside of testing for things like chlamydia and gonorrhea. Unfortunately, not all places/doctors do testing before treatment and there aren’t tests for all bacterial infections.
Because you are already on antibiotics, you’ll probably never know for sure which bacteria caused it. However, remember, pap smears don’t test for STDs and even comprehensive STD tests generally only test for a few STDs – there are actually around 30 or so sexually transmitted infections (bacterial, viral, and parasitic). So, it could have been one you were not tested for, or one they don’t typically test for…or it could have been one of the other less frequent bacterial causes too.
To give you a perspective on the type of women who have PID, they say, those who are especially at risk are women who:
Are sexually active and younger than 25,
have more than one sex partner,
As you can imagine, a lot of women fit into that description!
In terms of your questions, the good news is, using tampons will not cause PID – at least, that would be good news to me; I’m NOT a fan of pads at all. 🙂 But some of the other things you mentioned are possible bacterial causes as well… They say that, rarely, PID can also occur as a result of giving birth, or having a miscarriage, an abortion or a procedure to take a sample from the inside of the womb for laboratory testing. Sometimes PID can occur after the cervix is treated because of an abnormal Pap smear as well – but that is also rare. The aforementioned causes can move some of the ‘normal’ and healthy bacteria residing peacefully in the vagina to a location where it cannot be kept in check by a woman’s natural vaginal flora.
Anyhow, all of those are causes you could consider. Albeit, now knowing those things, I wouldn’t beat yourself up over any of the above either – as hard as that may be… These things happen; our bodies are not infallible, and the good news is, you know and you are getting treated. 🙂
Feel free to reach out with any additional questions you may have as well, and thanks so much for your comments, Nardia!
Hi – I was recently misdiagnosed with appendicitis….severe lower abdominal pain and an elevated WBC were my symptoms. My appendix was not visible in a CT scan, so the ER (understandably and thankfully) did an emergency laparoscopic procedure. They found my fallopian tubes and pelvic cavity to be infected. My primary doc had ruled out PID due to the complete absence of any vaginal symptoms…no discharge, itching, odor, nothing. Anyway, I was immediately admitted and put on IV antibiotics for two days. Sent home with another two weeks of antibiotics. Here’s the thing…I’ve been in a monogamous relationship w/my husband for 15 years, and I do not douche or use tampons. Yet, I am still horribly embarrassed to even tell anyone that I had PID!! That’s probably silly, but the whole time I was in the hospital and even in the gynecologist’s office for a follow up, I felt like the staff and nurses thought I was lying. (guess lab results don’t lie, but still…) Anyway, everywhere I look, the brief disclaimer before the STD discussion says, “normal bacteria can occasionally cause PID.” Well, how? Why? What makes “normal” bacteria suddenly morph up or into this monster?? I probably should just agree w/my gynecologist that we’ll never know what exactly caused it and just be glad it’s gone. I still think the whole thing was really weird! :-/ Just wanted to share this in case anyone else wound up here looking for answers like I did. 🙂
Thank you for sharing your story! There’s a lot of misguided information out there and even doctors can feel uncomfortable dealing with things related to but not always the result of an STD because of the immense stigma associated with STDs. Your story is not the only one I’ve heard like this, unfortunately.
While I am not a doctor, I have done EXTENSIVE research on this subject (along with the other STDs I mention), and what I understand about PID that has not been caused by the typical Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Mycoplasma, etc. is this: Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a general term for an infection of the uterus lining, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. The most common cause of PID is sexually transmitted diseases (as we’ve already mentioned), however, less commonly, foreign bacteria may also enter the body during some surgical or office procedures, such as:
Insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD)
Therapeutic or elective abortion
Lastly, what very well might have been the case for you is cause factor C which I have not yet mentioned: PID is also commonly caused by the bacteria that cause bacterial vaginosis (BV) (see: Vaginitis). I’m nearly certain this is what your gyno was referring to. These bacteria normally reside in the vagina along with the bacteria that can cause yeast infections. Both of these bacteria live harmoniously balanced inside the vagina and are part of a woman’s unique and complex physiology. They cause symptoms and spread to other organs only if they increase in number (overgrow). They are not sexually transmitted. They can be spread to the uterus, fallopian tubes, and overies as a result of rigorous sexually activities (cheers to you and your husband if this was the case! 🙂 Sorry, I’m sure this is not at all funny to you, of course…), douching, or surgical procedures as well and once they’ve moved, the opposite bacteria is no longer present to keep the BV bacteria in check, and therefor they overgrow.
It’s not at all uncommon for you to have experienced no symptoms – especially no discharge for your primary care provider to sample… PID caused by Gonorrhea usually causes the most obvious symptoms, Chlamydia being a little less severe, and some of the other causes of PID frequently producing no noticeable symptoms at all – at least not until the infection is severe. People who experience an ectopic pregnancy or infertility often have had silent PID while others have symptoms which are so mild they go unnoticed or simply, they have no symptoms at all until the PID has become severe like it had in your case.
Anywho, I hope this helps answer some of those questions still going around in your head – I totally understand the frustration, you are not at all alone in your experience even though people rarely talk about it. If not, feel free to comment and ask any additional questions you have! Thanks again for sharing your story. I am certain it will help others as well!
Thanks for your reply, Jenelle! Everything you said is right on target w/my continual search for info. Surprisingly, when I went in for another follow-up, they told me the pathology report on my appendix was positive for infection….what? I’m starting to think the hospital is nervous about going ahead w/the surgery to remove an UNinfected appendix. Their story now is that the appendicitis somehow “caused” the PID – some rare spread of bacteria. Regardless….I’m better and that’s what matters, I suppose. Have to tell you your “rigorous activities” comment did elicit a laugh (a sore one, but well timed, nonetheless!) Maybe I’ll stick w/that as the root cause of all of this! Thanks again. You’re managing a great, informational site!
This message made my morning! I’m SO glad this was helpful!
Geez, what a mess you’ve been through. It’s disappointing to hear the doctors have not been entirely certain what to do with you or what has occurred – just another reminder the strongest and most trustworthy advocates for our health is ourselves!!! I have a fabulous OBGYN now who’s said nearly the same thing. Because I’ve lived with genital herpes for such a long time now (14 years), I’m really the expert; he merely helps support or refute the information I dig up. It’s refreshing when a doctor is willing to admit they don’t know everything either…I mean, how can they?!? They are human like the rest of us. It goes without saying, I think, sometimes they might be at a loss as well. Dr. does not equal superhuman….despite their number of accreditations! 🙂
At any rate – so nice to hear I could send a laugh your way! I think that’s a perfectly Samantha-esque (from Sex and the City) cause and I certainly won’t tell otherwise if you don’t! 😉
i was diagnosed with pid just one month back. i really dont know from where it came as i am faithful to my husband and i know he is too. i also keep myself clean. im really worried. i had taken iv antiotics for six days then after that oral antibiotics for two weeks. but till now i still hv discharge though not foul smelling and i also have mild abdominal pain. please advice me what to do. im really very very worried. i want to have kids.
Hi Clarisa –
You ask a really great question, one I receive often, actually. With PID in particular, it’s really hard to determine the culprit.
That being said, it has nothing to do with being clean – so, please don’t think it’s an indicator you’re dirty or haven’t been keeping up on your feminine hygiene. In fact, quite the opposite is true as douching can even cause PID. If you douche (I recommend you don’t), it can push ‘good’ bacteria naturally residing in the vagina into other areas of the female reproductive system where it stays and multiplies, because it no longer has the regulatory bacteria naturally present in the vagina to keep it in check or from getting out of control. Essentially, that’s what PID is, the presence of bacteria that’s had an opportunity to run amok, thus causing some of the long-term reproductive problems you’re worried about having in the future (hold that thought though, reproductive issues don’t always occur).
PID can be caused by douching, IUDs, and the typical untreated STD, of course. If it was caused by an untreated STD, you could have had either Chlamydia, Mycoplasma, or Gonorrhea for years without knowing or noticing symptoms – that’s more common than you might think. If it was the result of an STD, you’d want to ensure your husband was/is being treated as well, because you could pass it back and forth despite the antibiotics you’ve been on. Should he have an STD you’re both unaware of, the long-term consequences can be similar in terms of reproductive issues (PID only happens in women). So, depending on the length you two have been together and whether or not either of you were sexually active prior to marrying one another, that’s something to run by your doc as well – especially if symptoms persist.
As far as having kids is concerned, I’d try your best not to worry about that until the time comes. Any long-term damage is usually irreversible, but long-term reproductive issues do not always occur in all PID cases. To help alleviate that stress, make sure to ask your physician if there are tests which can be done or if they think your PID was severe enough to cause irreversible damage – they will know best whether you will have trouble conceiving or carrying to term.
In regard to your ongoing symptoms: some amount of discharge is normal for all women – however, if you’re still experiencing an abnormal amount of discharge, you will want to return to the physician who treated you for an additional check-up as well – that’s a great time to ask about possibly treating your hubby and reproductive concerns too. The mild abdominal pain can be a result of a lingering infection, or a long-term effect of the PID. They will know how best to treat that for sure.
It’s totally understandable how worried you’re feeling right now. Just make sure to ask as many questions as possible (you’re already doing research, which, is good) and don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion should you not be completely satisfied with the outcome or how you’re feeling.
Feel free to let us know how everything turns out. Just remember, PID is fairly common and is nothing to be ashamed about – especially because it often occurs without any noticable symptoms – there’s no way you could have known, and now you’re being as proactive as possible! 🙂
thank you so for being the person i can talk to. getting a lot of relieves after reading your reply. have some more question to ask. please help me out this time too. when i went for check up the first time, they did sonography and said that my right ovary is swelling and that there is fluid in pod, next time i went for follow up she took a pap smear and the report says its because of klebsiella species. treatment was given for that. next time i went, a repeated smear was taken and they told my husband to sent the semen for culture, which he did. my surprise is that my result is fungus and his is e. coli. i really dont understand and confuse. please help me again to understand better.
Hi Clarisa –
I’m happy to provide as much help as possible, however, it sounds like you’re receiving excellent care and your doctors are going to be the best source of answers and clarification from here. Klebsiella and E. Coli is highly documented by the CDC – I’d suggest reading those articles for further details on those infections in particular, but because you are already seeking care and the care you’re receiving sounds very thorough, your medical practitioners are going to best suited to help answer the more detailed questions you now have about your circumstance specifically. 🙂 I hope this doesn’t discourage you, but because I am not a doctor, and you’re already in the care of one, it’s best to refer you to their expertise.
thank you so much once again. will try to follow the cdc too as you said.
Hi i was diagnosed with pid about 2 yrs ago. Due to the fact that i no longer have insurance i wasnt able to get treated. I have pain durin sexual intercorse and sometimes bleed. I also got pregnant and thank god everything went perfect. Im really scared that if i dont find treatment i will not be able to have kids ever again.
Hi there –
Your concern is definitely a valid one as untreated PID often leads to ectopic pregnancies and infertility. When you were diagnosed, did they prescribe anything for you or were you not able to get a prescription because of cost? Are you in the U.S. or elsewhere? I have a list of testing centers and sexual health clinics in the U.S., the U.K., New Zealand, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Northern Mariana, Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, & Peru… If you’re in any one of those locations, you can use this link (https://thestiproject.com/std-resources/std-testing-centers/) to find testing centers near you (a large portion of the links are actual sexual health clinics such as Planned Parenthood and FPA) – these locations offer income-based or free testing AND treatment!!!!
So, I’d try those links first (as long as you’re in one of those areas), because as you said, there is a very real risk your PID left untreated could hinder your ability to have children in the future…
I just have one question. Does your partner have to take medication if your PID was not caused by and STI? I keep reading everyone should have their partner take the same prescription.
Hi there –
As long as your PID was not caused by a bacteria he could contract (an STD, yeast, etc.), your partner would not need to take an antibiotic as well. However, they don’t always pinpoint the reason and thus, if you do not know which bacteria in particular has caused your PID, it would be wise for him to take the prescription just in case. If he doesn’t take the same prescription and he is also carrying the bacteria, you run the risk of being re-infected.
Thanks for your question!
so i just got my labs back i was in the ER on monday for what was diagnosed as PID but they couldnt tell me why while i was there, my labs came back today but still worried my partner will need to take the same prescription. even if it WASNT caused by any type of STI, would it hurt him to take the antibiotics anyways just so i can be sure i DONT get reinfected? and i found it a coincidence this is the first ive heard that douching can cause PID, ironic that i just started using one a few weeks ago so im starting to think thats the culprit. should i stop douching altogether if it raises the risk THAT MUCH for me getting PID?
Hi angela –
In case the PID is caused by an infection that is both treatable with antibiotics and that they cannot or have not tested for, which is quite common, in might be wise to have your partner take the antibiotics too. So, follow what your medical practitioner suggests, and, if they agree that he should be treated as well, go for it. For the same reasons ,it’s also wise for you to abstain from sexual activities while you’re both being treated.
Here, at The STI Project, we’re not fans of douching at all. Recently, for Answers.com, I wrote an article about why douching increases your risk. Take a look at that, do some additional research, and then make an educated decision based upon the information you’ve learned and your needs.
Thanks for your questions!
Im 19 years old and ive been having crippling back pain with pelvic pain bloating and tightness around my hpsi and thighs its hard for me to walk my doctor said I have PID but the thing is im a virgin and I dont douche and I definatley dont have poor hygeine! Is there a chance my doctor is wrong??
Hi Stace –
If your doctor has diagnosed you with PID, most likely the diagnosis is correct. PID has nothing to do with poor hygiene and can occur even if you’re a virgin. So, make sure to take all of your prescribed medication, of course.
In the meantime though, if you’re still in doubt, you can always garner a second opinion.
Albeit, remember, PID is the result of bacteria (either external bacteria not naturally residing in the vagina – like an STD – or healthy bacteria which naturally resides in the vagina) multiplying within other parts of the reproductive system where it cannot be kept in check by balancing bacteria naturally residing in the vagina.
Hi ive been diagnosed with PID about a month ago well i got given antibiotics and i didn’t feel they were working so i stopped on the fith day felt better the following week but had odd days were id have the pelvic pain again.. So back an fourth to the drs i went trying to find out whats going on… Anyway it all started when i was diagnosed with a UTI and i didn’t take antibiotics for it… Therefore i tried other herbal remedies to cure my UTI eventually it went but then in turn was left with low pelvic pain.. Some days it lasts hrs and sometimes the whole of the day!! It’s so bad i feel so weak i cannot stand or walk for long.. Along with that loose stools and discharge (no odour or colour) eventually i was admited to er cos of the pain being so intense. I have problems taking tablets so i was given 2 different antibiotics one oral suspension and other dissolvable tablet (metrondazole & doxycyline) for 14 days. I started to feel better but still have days when its unbearable that i can’t even sit down!! I finish metrondazole today and doxycyline in 2 days. I’m really scared whats going on because i still get this pain the discomfort is awful and it almost feels as if its burning down there inside my pelvis. I have no other symtoms apart from rapid heart beat. Whats going on??? Please help
Hi Katrina –
When they swab for bacteria, the doctors are looking for foreign bacteria (such as an STD), not the bacteria which naturally resides in all healthy vaginas and which work to keep our PH levels in check, among other things. PID can be caused by the natural bacteria residing in the vagina as well when it gets moved to another location in the female reproductive system where it no longer has balancing bacteria to keep it from multiplying out of control. Considering the history you’ve shared, it’s likely your PID was caused by natural bacteria moving to an unnatural location and over-populating.
Also, remember, condoms do not protect from all STDs (they are, however, highly effective for the bacterial STDs that can cause PID). Herpes, HPV, Genital Warts, Scabies, Molluscum, and others are transmitted via skin-to-skin contact. So, keep that in mind when talking about being STD-free as there’s actually no way to know for sure you’re entirely free of all STDs (not all STDs can be tested for). Of course, it’s great you’re using barriers though – so keep up the good work there – it’s phenomenal to hear you’re being conscientious about your sexual health. 🙂
Anyhow, you might be experiencing continued problems, because you’ve not completed your antibiotics or taken them consistently? It’s hard to know for sure, but since you’re still experiencing noticeable symptoms, it’s really important you go back in to see your practitioner. UTIs left untreated can turn into kidney problems and PID can cause reproductive issues if not effectively eradicated. Either of those infections can also cause pelvic pain, and while the antibiotics might have taken care of the PID, antibiotics have a tendency to disrupt the healthy balance of bacteria in the vagina itself causing bacterial vaginosis or yeast infections. If the antibiotics triggered a bacterial vaginosis infection, that would account for the burning inside your pelvis.
Yours is not the first case I’ve heard of in terms of a potentially stubborn UTI or PID, actually. I think it’s quite common one has to return for either additional meds or a check-up. Whatever you do though, make taking your medication a number one priority!!
In the meantime, focus on your immune system’s health and make sure to schedule an additional appointment – you could drink kefir or eat greek yogurt to aid the healing process and to help reestablish the natural flora in the vagina too – kefir works wonders, but if you can’t find kefir, greek yogurt is second best.
I really hope this helps, and feel free to let us know what you found out should you feel like sharing an update!
I have all the symptoms of a possible STD or bacterial infection (vaginosis or trich) but all my tests came back negative. No yeast, vaginosis, trich, chlamydia or gonorrhea or syphilis. Three years ago I started noticing slight light green discharge once in a while but back then I also tested negative for STDs. I didn’t have any problems after that. A couple of months ago I made the mistake of using my husband’s razor to shave and I got all itchy down there. Could that be the culprit as to why I’m having symptoms now? I am also 14 weeks pregnant but the doctor says all the tests came back fine. i feel something is off. Thanks.
Hi Lola –
Unfortunately, by just your symptoms alone, it’s really hard to say for sure. Pregnancy does have a tendency to make one feel ‘off’. That being said, it never hurt anyone to get a second opinion (or a third or fourth one, for that matter)…
Your husband’s razor – just shaving down there, in general – could certainly be causing the itchiness. And I’ve also heard of normal discharge having a slight green tinge – almost a mustard yellow – but, if that color is not normal for you, as in, you’ve not noticed it since puberty consistently, then it’s not normal.
Worst case scenario, you could have a different bacterial infection they haven’t tested for – mycoplasma genitalium doesn’t get tested in many places – and if you’ve never been prescribed an antibiotic ‘just in case’, you could have had it for some time…
Quite honestly, though, this is all speculation. Because you’re feeling off, I think it’s important to trust your intuition and seek a second and/or third opinion. It can’t help to have a different perspective, and ultimately, you know best when something is not feeling tip-top up there. And especially for your new baby in utero – congratulations, by the way – it’s important you double and triple make sure everything is functioning as it should be! 🙂
This is my story. I was sent to have a CT and ultrasound for stomach pain, possibly hernia, when they discover a large mass >6.5cm in my pelvic cavity. Cancer was suspected. Surgery was booked in 2wks later. I woke up to be told that it was not cancer but there was chronic and current inflammation and adhesion everywhere and i lost one ovary and one tube because they were not saveable. Four weeks later, i had my post op appointment. The surgeon showed me the pictures and again said there was so much inflammation and adhesion everywhere. But i kept on asking why was the inflammation there in the first place and why such big damage. He then reluctantly said, i may have been infected for many years and i my partner may be sleeping around. Now, i was with my partner for 8yrs and we broke up just over a year ago. When i got diagnosed with this mass he so happened to contact me after a year of no contact, and thus he was told of my diagnosis. he insisted on coming to see me. and one thing lead to another…. So in the two wks between diagnosis and the surgery i was with him. (i had my period 2wks before the surgery. and the dr said when menstruating, the lining of uterus sheds and thus to find sti in the ulterus during the surgery means its recent!)). This explains my recent infection. So……. yes. i am in big shock!! it would have been easier to accept i had cancer due other means than having had chronic infection for so many years and ended up losing my ovary and tube due to sti infection. I am extremely health conscious and now knowing my ex had cause of my loss is extremely hard to accept. I want to confront him face to face tomorrow but i am sure he will deny being a cheater.
I am totally depressed, feeling dirty ashamed, embarrased….. my reputation,….i feel suicidal…
Hi Jan –
Thanks so much for reaching out!
First and foremost, please know you are not alone, and please also know, you’re still valuable and a beautiful individual. These things happens to all kinds of people. Please put those thoughts aside (also, some of the help hotlines included here could be a great resources for hashing out those thoughts)… As horrible as you’re feeling right now, it will improve with time – I know that’s not a great solace right now.
As for the cheating partner… I’m not entirely certain he did cheat. There’s actually no way of knowing for sure. If I’m reading your story correctly, the mass was discovered, you were treated, slept with your ex, and then had surgery. Here’s the thing, PID generally takes a long time to develop, as the doc indicated – you really could have had a bacterial infection for the last 8+ years, whereby, your ex would have also contracted it – whether it be first from you or first from him, there’s no way to tell… So, while you were treated, he was not and would be able to reinfect you directly after you were treated (during that two week interval), because he wasn’t ever treated (at least I didn’t get that from what you wrote). So, while he still would have had the bacterial infection and would have reinfected you during that time, there’s no way to tell if he actually cheated just because he had an STI. Bacterial infections can persist for many many years without showing obvious signs or symptoms (all STIs can). One of you could have contracted the infection from a prior partner, and then during the course of your 8yr. relationship given it to the one another… Cheating is, of course, also possible, but the trouble is, there’s no way to know for sure.
In terms of your reputation: sure, you contracted an STI – had it for a long while without knowing (happens all the time to all kinds of people), but now that you’ve been treated and have had surgery, you no longer have an STI. Where a conversation will likely occur is if you’re talking about having kids with a new partner, and then I’d imagine you’d share that it may or may not be possible because of the surgery and maybe why you had to have surgery…which, won’t be the most enjoyable conversation to have. But, then, that’s it – it’s not something you have to worry about transmitting.
Please know, I’m not intending to be glib at all – just merely trying to make sure you know, this might affect your ability to conceive, but it doesn’t have to hinder relationships, doesn’t mean you can’t have a healthy sex life, and it DEFINITELY does not mean you are tainted, dirty, or any of those things we commonly feel when we find out we weren’t as conscientious with our sexual health as we would have liked to be.
You are still worthy of love, respect, and a mindful and loving partner. Nothing less. Period.
Please also feel free to reach out as often as you like; I’m always happy to chat, answer questions, and spend time slashing those misconceptions which are unjustly thrust on anyone with an STI/STD!
I’m an early twenties girl studying abroad and as my supplementary insurance here does not cover medical expenses upfront, I’m reaching out for a little bit more info before I decide what step to take next. I was seeing some subtle but worrying symptoms like unusual discharge and itchiness and pain whilst urinating, but mostly I could sense something was off in my body. Went to a free clinic here and tested positive for chlamydia in late February, took the treatment (antibiotics 2x a day for 7 days) and completed it at the beg. of March. A couple weeks after finishing treatment, I noticed symptoms much more noticeable and different than those I had before testing positive for the chlamydia, the first being a week-long period where I had EXTREME trouble emptying my bladder or peeing at all — I had to sit for several minutes until I could force the urine out. There was no burning sensation when I did manage to pee though. After this passed, I began noticing feeling more fatigued than usual, and while urinating still did not have a burning sensation it did feel unusually hot (but not in a painful way, just noticeable). When I would try to check things out down there with my fingers, it would hurt to insert them. Over the last several weeks I have noticed my vagina is extremely swollen, though it (usually) no longer hurts to insert fingers, but it’s extremely worrisome how swollen it feels down there. Like completely swollen up. I have no issues with urination as of the last month (ish), and my periods have been more or less regular throughout this whole ordeal.
I went to the OBGYN when I first started noticing the swelling and pain upon finger-insertion, in mid-end of March, and when she took a look she immediately said I definitely have some kind of infection. She offered to send cultures to the lab, but being I have to pay upfront I opted to try to sort it out at the free clinic again. When I told her I was recently tested positive for chlamydia, she said it was most likely that I had chlamydia again (I had had sex once since finishing treatment, before seeing this OBGYN), and I expressed concern over it being PID but she didn’t seem concerned. I returned to the free clinic again to get tested, and my results came back negative for chlamydia or gonorrhea, but I wonder if there’s a chance it was a false negative (the free clinics here have you take a swab from your vagina/cervix yourself, using an instructional pamphlet, and the NP in the US I spoke to today said that could have led to an insufficient swab sample and thus a false negative).
I’ve had no unusual spotting or irregular bleeding, although I am now 5 days due for this month’s but I think that is because I just recently started taking birth control again (beg. of April) and forgot to take the last few in the pack this past week so I had to double up. Not to mention I am feeling incredibly stressed as a result of all of this, so I’d guess that may also be delaying it a little. In any case, I tried to phone my doctor at home in the US, but b/c I am not a current patient of their OBGYN dept. I could only get medical advice from a NP in primary care. I told her I have been obsessively concerned about potentially having PID, and relayed all of my symptoms to her. She said the best sign is that I do not have the most common symptom, pelvic pain, and that it could be any number of things causing these symptoms, but I won’t know for sure unless I can either go back to the OBGYN here in France, or wait until I return to the US for my appt. on May 29th. My concern obviously is if this is potentially PID, if waiting a few more weeks could be extremely detrimental to me and allow things to progress much more? I can try to get into the OBGYN here once more before I leave, but time is running out (I am in France for 1 more week then off to vacation then back to the US for good) and I have no clue of the costs of running tests here/buying meds, so I am trying to gauge the severity of the situation and decide how to handle it. Freaking out quite a bit. The NP advised I try to get tested by the OBGYN for whatever she thinks is necessary after examining me, but being that I will be home in less than 3 weeks I can do this for free under my insurance there and get meds covered as well, obviously the bigger issue being what may happen between now and then:(
Sorry this is so incredibly long and drawn-out, don’t really know how to be concise about things like this! And one other thing, I’ve thought about this so much that it’s hard to distinguish if I am psyching myself out and convincing myself I have certain symptoms or if I genuinely do have them, but today I felt I’ve noticed my groin lymph nodes are swollen and perhaps my lower abdomen/uterus area appear swollen too? Hard to tell if I’m just trying to see those things or if they are truly there, but I know those are also possible symptoms of PID so just wanna give you all the details I can.
Thanks so much for your help, your site is incredibly informative and helpful and I have to admit I knew nothing about PID before reading all of this. Thanks again.
Hi anonymous –
Thanks so much for reaching out, and no apologies are necessary in so far as the length of your message or the amount of detail you included is concerned. Rather, it’s actually great you have a written account of your symptoms and the time frame in which you’ve been experiencing them. Keep those details, and bring them with you whether you decide to see someone abroad or back in the US, or both.
That being said, I’m afraid I’m not going to have a solid answer for you one way or another. Here’s the thing: if what you’re experiencing is PID (or any other affliction, for that matter), there’s no way to tell, no statistic or research material that will tell you exactly what kind of difference a matter of weeks will make for your condition – this is especially true, because, at this point, we don’t even know what your condition is. It could still be PID, as PID can be caused by bacterial STIs that don’t often get tested for – explaining your negative chlamydia and gonorrhea tests – as well as normal non-STI-related bacteria, which could explain the negative results too. That their procedure included you doing your own swab is very antiquated, not typical, leaves so much room for error, and is definitely a reason you could have received a false-negative as well. It could also be something else entirely, something relatively minor, or a figment of your imagination (although, I’m inclined to believe it’s not the latter)! There’s really no way to tell without being seen.
So, therein lies your predicament, right?! In general, the longer you wait to treat any infection or disease, the more it progresses! But beyond that, everyone’s physiology is unique – what can happen to one person in a week’s time might take a month or years to develop in another. Like I said, I know this isn’t the answer you were looking for…
I understand where you’re at with this, being in a different country, with minimal funds, leaving soon, and not knowing whether you’ll jeopardize your health significantly by waiting or your finances by going in unnecessarily…
I’m guessing your regular doc suggested you get seen, because, among other things, the folks in France could potentially provide you with some additional antibiotics and/or pain and symptom relievers for the remainder of your trip. For that reason, it might be worth your while to go in. If it’s PID or anything else rather significant, you’ll end up being treated and doing follow-ups in the states too, of course. But, getting a French doctor’s opinion along with some temporary meds is certainly not the worst idea I’ve heard – it might also go a long way to reduce the anxiety you’re undergoing for the remainder of your trip while placing your focus back on immersing and enriching yourself in your travels. Outside of the cost to be seen by the French folks, you can always choose to not fill a prescription, request a generic, or look for something over-the-counter should the out-of-pocket expense be beyond your means, and you can always elect to wait for whatever procedure(s) they suggest (if they suggest) until you’ve returned to the US. The deal is, signs and symptoms come and go…so, being seen right now, and then again once you return will also give your regular doctor a more thorough picture of what’s going on….
I’m sure you know this, but I’m compelled to mention, whatever you decide to do, please abstain from sexual activities until you’ve been seen and completely treated – if treatment is necessary.
From here, you have to make a decision based upon what’s best for you – weighing how you’re feeling (physically and emotionally) with possible relief, potential long-term complication risk, transmission risk if what you have is contagious and you’re sexually active, and the funds you have available – then decide to mentally resolve that the decision you make is you doing your best with what you have. It also can’t hurt to do your very best to treat your body in a positive and holistic manner in the meantime, as that approach will help alleviate random symptoms, aid in the healing process, and is also along the lines of doing the best with what you have – lots of healthy foods, rest, probiotics, exercise, water.
Keep us posted and feel free to respond with any additional questions!
So after catching an STI from my current partner, I immediately got treated for it, ( I am estimating that I had it for 3 weeks-a month) but now I am extremely paranoid that I have PID, once I started having cramps/pelvic pressure just recently I admitted my self into the ER, they preformed a pelvic exam which did not hurt at ALL and took swabs, they gave me another dose of medication used to cure chlamydia. Am I just going crazy or is it still possible for me to be developing PID?
Hi there, Paranoia1235 –
Well, I wouldn’t say you’re going crazy, necessarily… 🙂 I think, it’s important you take the rest of your antibiotics, abstain from sexual activities during this time, lest you pass it back and forth to your partner – your partner also needs to get treated or you’d just be getting the same infection over and over again – and then both parties need to get re-tested after treatment.
If you take your prescription as prescribed, your partner gets treated as well, you both test negative, and then you are still experiencing symptoms, it’d be wise to seek additional care for sure – a specialist, like an OB/GYN or a clinic like Planned Parenthood would be best, because they deal in PID more often than a general practitioner or an emergency room would, and they’ll be able to discern what additional tests are necessary.
There are a couple of things which could be happening – you could have an antibiotic resistant strain of something, a bacterial infection they haven’t tested or treated for, or something else entirely. Since you’re right in the middle of treatment, you’ll have to wait for testing as the antibiotics can obscure test results. But, should symptoms continue, definitely pursue a second/third opinion from someone who’s familiar with PID and other common female and pelvic-oriented afflictions.
Hope this helps!
I was diagnosed with PID a few weeks ago in the E.R. I went because I was experiencing pain in the lower abdomen but thats the only symptom I had. The doctor did an exam and ultra sound and said their was fluid around my uterus and then I was diagnosed. I took all the antibiotics as prescribed. However, I am still experiencing pain. I am wondering should I go back to the E.R. to see whats going on? I dont have insurance so going to an OBGYN is kind of not an option for me right now.
Hi Michelle –
PID can be really serious and/or tricky to get rid of, and in some instances, women still experience pain indefinitely, even once the infection is cured – the infection that causes the PID can be removed, but any damage the PID has done to the reproductive system is, typically, irreversible.
Anyhow, it’s definitely a good idea to go back in. You could try an income-based/free clinic like Planned Parenthood/Opt/NHS.
Keep in mind, there aren’t tests for ALL STDs, and depending upon the country you’re in, only certain tests are available. PID is caused by bacteria – whether it be from an STD or the normal bacteria that resides in the vagina being moved to a different, unchecked location. So, the most important thing now is that you make sure the infection that caused the PID is gone.
Thanks for your question, Michelle!
Hi there, I came across this site as I am going nuts over some news I got. During a routine pap smear, my new doctor also tested for chlamydia and some other stuff (she said she always does this to all her patients). I thought nothing of it until she called me to come back and told me I have a trace of chlamydia. I was so shocked I could not even ask what “trace” meant. She gave me some antiobiotic and booked me for a follow up.
The issue is that I have been married for 5 years and have a 2.5 year old child. I have not cheated once in my 5 years of marriage. Last time I had unprotected sex was with someone I was involved with before my husband, 6 years ago. My husband is being tested next week but he swears up and down that last time he had sex was also prior to our marriage.
If I were to believe him, my other fear is that I have had this disease for a long time unnoticed. Is that possible? Would they not have tested for that during my pregnancy. I am worried for my toddler – would she have any symptoms if I passed it to her? I am trying to track down my OB-GYN from 2.5 years ago to see if I was ever tested for it.
If I have had this thing for 5+ years, is it possible I had no symptoms? What is the likelihood it developed into a PID? I want more kids and am terrified of infertility due to this? What is the likelihood of becoming infertile from PID? How can I know for sure if there is damage?
Sorry for post but I was so shocked at doctors office I could not even say anything and I have to wait 2 weeks for my appt and am going crazy! Thanks so much
Hi Shocked Elle –
I can certainly understand your concern – no apologies are necessary at all. 🙂
You may have received a false positive. This is relatively common, and you could request a second test or even a second opinion from another OB/GYN. If your husband’s result is negative, I would definitely ask for a second test before taking an antibiotic – if you’ve already begun taking the antibiotic, though, it’s best to finish the prescription.
From your doctor’s perspective, I imagine she decided on a prescription rather than follow-up testing, because she’d rather have you take the antibiotic, reduce your chance of transmitting the infection to others or it progressing further than go through additional testing to ensure the result.
Interestingly, very few medical practitioners test for any sexually transmitted infections without being prompted – that your doctor is beginning to do this as part of her routine, preventative procedures is fantastic, actually, but she is an exception; so, you wouldn’t have necessarily been tested for it while pregnant or ever, for that matter.
Chlamydia, like all STIs/STDs can remain asymptomatic for years – however, odds are, you do not have PID caused by untreated Chlamydia, and you are not infertile as a result of PID.
Sure, if you had a chlamydia infection when you went into labor, there’s a chance you could have passed the bacteria to your baby, but between 25 to 50 percent of those babies develop an eye infection (conjunctivitis) a few days to a few weeks after birth, and 5 to 30 percent of babies develop pneumonia a few weeks to several months after birth. Short story, if you had the infection while pregnant and you passed it to your child, most likely, you would have known by now.
Keep in mind, you should be able to call your doctor’s office, in advance of your appointment 2 weeks from now, and speak with the nurse too. The nurse should be able to answer some of your preliminary questions, and anything they are unable to answer, they can consult with the OB/GYN and return your call. I say this, because you are your best health advocate – don’t be afraid to call back and ask for clarification when something sensitive and scary arises, especially when it’s something concerning your health and the (potential) health of your loved ones.
Your questions are always welcome here, though, as well. Thanks so much for reaching out!
Hi Janelle and all others, Ive been sufferring from PID more than a year now and It really makes me feel bad. I just got a culture test saying I had staph epidermidis infection and the second culture says I have enterobater spp both are heavy growth. Bacteria have been resistant to antibiotic already. Now Im doomed I can feel bacteria are lingering my body coz I feel really aweful. Due to my desperation, I purchased a frequency generator machine(gb4000) to kill the biofilms. Has anyone here who has cured themself using a frequency machine? Ive been struggling and battling with this bacteria that I got from PID and now my gyno is dismissing what I feel. Im only 28 yo and I dont wanna end up to hysterectomy. Im really scared, the machine I ordered is on its way. I hope i will get cured soon coz I feel like Im dying. 🙁 its very difficult to go on with my life with this suffering.
Hi Ladymix23 –
Having a hard to cure infection can certainly be debilitating emotionally, that’s for sure. Keep in mind, you’re definitely not ‘doomed’, despite how much it feels that way right now. The best thing you can do is work on maintaining your overall health while you battle the infection. And, although it’s much easier said than done, the more you can manage the stress, the better off you’ll be. Again, though, I know that’s no easy feat, as this – your health – is so important, and it’s hard not to be emotional and stressed about it.
That being said, here’s the deal….I wouldn’t rely on ANY machine purchased online claiming to cure a bacterial infection. Period. Bacterial infections typically require prescription antibiotics. However, in terms of you not being thrilled with the treatment you’re receiving or your current doctor’s response, it’s ok to seek a second opinion. It’s quite common, actually – especially when dealing with something as sensitive and as important as the reproductive area – to want to seek a second and sometimes third opinion. Definitely advocate for yourself that way and see if another physician agrees or suggests an alternative approach.
Whatever you do, don’t give up. This isn’t something that is entirely without hope, and sometimes just seeking the opinion of a couple of other medical professionals can help to put things into perspective while also assuring your treatment is ideal.
Oh boy. Where do I begin? Ok. I have had 2 episodes of BV within the past year. My OBGYN prescribed Metro-gel the first time (which was in January). The 2nd to last week of September I felt the same symptoms coming on so I called the nurses line to request the gel again as I was going out of town. The doc agreed and told if the symptoms didn’t go away in a week, I need to be seen. I waited a bit longer than a week to make the appointment. I had foul smelling discharge, no discoloration, no pain. During my appointment, I took the urine test and they did the routine check. They called back that day to say I had BV and I was put on a 7 day antibiotic 2 times a day. 2 days later, they also called back to say that I had Chlamydia. They put me on a prescription that was 2 pills (1 time deal) as well as for my partner. We both took them at the same time. Note I am now on 2 different antibiotics for BV and Chlamydia. Well the next week went ok. Then… I got a yeast infection! Called the doc to explain the symptoms were not smelly, but clear and cottage cheese like. She simply said this was from the antibiotics I was on. Well by day 2 into the Yeast Infection, I got my period! (which was also 3 weeks early and I am never off schedule). The day after my period I noticed a weird abdominal pelvic pain, as well as severe lower back pain. I called the doctor the next day and made an appointment. They fit me in the next day. Regular examine, no pain during physical examination, urine was examined and showed clear but needed to be sent out for culture. No answers. She told me I was still too early to do my follow up appointment to make sure the chlamydia was cleared up because it dead cells would still show up in my DNA and would show that I probably still had the Chlamydia. Next day, I am feverish, chills, and simply feel like crap! Lower back pain, lower abdominal pain. They fit me in to do ultrasound which showed no abcess or growth but she could see where my fallopian tubes were irritated. She took blood samples today.She stated mild PID symptoms. She said I was on the tipping point of the needle that I either needed to be hospitalized or do another out patient care to which I opted to because hey! I didn’t feel I was in an emergency situation to go to the hospital!! She gave me a shot of antibiotics in the butt! (ouch) and gave me Doxycycline for a 10 day period which I am now on day 5 of. My symptoms come in waves. I get nauseous and have abdominal pain that switches from side to side to both. I get lower back pain off and on. Shouldn’t I be feeling better at this point of day 5? This is today! So I call the doctor who now says my WBC is normal (meaning no signs of fighting infection), my urine is clear! No test show anything wrong with me! She recommends I ride out the antibiotics and see how I feel?
What do you think I should do at this point? Am I doing current damage if I am still in pain? Should I be treated at the hospital? Do I still have Chlamydia as well at this point if my urine is clear? I do not feel like myself and this has been a crazy month of one thing after another!!
Hi Shannon2325 –
At this point, I’m afraid I will be of little help. Since you’re presently being seen by a medical professional, I cannot advise much otherwise.
Keep in mind, if there has been any kind of long-term damage done to the reproductive system, it will likely take some time to heal, and sometimes, chronic pain persists even after the infection has been removed… That being said, it, typically, takes time for a PID infection to develop, and so it will also take some time to cure.
And, of course, you can always seek a second or third opinion. If you feel that you have not received the best care, the most thorough information and treatment, or adequate follow-up, by all means, see if another professional wants to treat you similarly or suggests an alternate route. You are your strongest advocate, so don’t feel bad about seeing someone else or asking tons of questions while you are with your current physician.
Hello..about 2 years ago..I was diagnosed with P.I.D..afte a routine check up..I was treated and cured or so I thought..recently I have been showing the symptoms once again.but the pain is worse also IM afraid it has effected my partner any advice.
Hi Angela0828 –
I’d suggest going to see your practitioner – let them know your history if it’s a new physician – and getting tested. You certainly don’t want to wait to see if symptoms subside, as everything is easiest to diagnose while symptoms are present. No matter what is causing the pain, you want to treat it as soon as possible so it doesn’t get worse or spread to your partner (if it’s something contagious).
Make sure to let your doctor know you have a partner, and they will be able to determine if they should be tested/treated.
Ok so I would like to share my story…. I have read many of the story’s and responses above which have really helped me to understand how PID can occur and help me come to terms with my personal experience and what now lies ahead. My purpose in sharing my story is to also hopefully help those currently battling with the emotional issues and confusion surrounding PID and dealing with the aftermath of contracting the infection. If there is any further help and advice anyone could give to me after reading my story I would be ever so grateful as I am currently struggling to come to terms with what has happened.
So here goes…..and apologies it is a lengthy one….
I am 28 years old and from the UK (not that this matters), I have been with my husband for 10 years, married for 1, and I recently found out I had PID after having had a laparoscopic procedure. I have never had an IUD and I have never douched (actually did not know what this was until I saw this site). I was on the contraceptive pill from the age of 15 and only ever had a handful of sexual partners. I always had a regular ‘normal’ period throughout. Over 2 years ago my now husband and I decided to casually try for a baby (by casually I mean like ‘if it happens, it happens’); 18 months ago I had a miscarriage at around 5 weeks but did not require medical intervention. 2 months after the miscarriage I was admitted to hospital with severe one sided abdominal pain, after several tests and an ultrasound scan (sonography) it was confirmed that I in fact had an ectopic pregnancy in my left fallopian tube. It had not ruptured and my symptoms were not severe enough for an emergency operation but I had regular HCG blood tests. After a few weeks of giving blood the professionals were happy with the levels gradually falling and I was informed this was a good sign (even though I didn’t feel it was at the time as I was losing my 2nd baby). When the levels of HCG in my blood reached a safe amount I was discharged from the hospital with no follow up or need to return. My husband and I were advised not to try for a baby for at least 6 months which we took on board and this was fine as we were in the middle of preparations for our wedding so could focus on this which in the end helped us to get over what had happened.
About 2 months before the wedding my periods were suddenly irregular and painful. I could sometimes go up to 8 weeks without a period and the flow was not what I was used to they suddenly became really light. After the wedding and honeymoon and because of sudden irregularities, my history of miscarriage and ectopic and the fact I came off the contraceptive pill 2 years ago, my husband and I decided to go for further tests. I had another ultrasound but this time it was to look at my ovaries. The results of the ultrasound scan confirmed me having polycystic ovaries. We were then referred to the local infertility clinic for further tests. Because of my ectopic pregnancy the doctors were really eager to undertake the laparoscopic procedure to take a look at my fallopian tubes for any tubal damage and anything else that could be getting in the way of natural conception. I had the operation where my left fallopian tube had to be removed as it was completely blocked, coiled and actually stuck to my ovary. The results of the operation confirmed that my right tube was also damaged; the surgeon actually scored it 4 out of 10 for health (not very good at all) and informed me there was still a small chance we could conceive naturally but I was at high risk of another ectopic pregnancy. As if the news wasn’t devastating enough I was also told that I had PID and both my husband and I were given a course of oral antibiotics to take for the following two weeks. As I now only have ‘half a tube’ (as I often describe it) and am at high risk of another ectopic pregnancy the doctors have advised that the best, and quite possibly the only option for us to conceive would be with the help of IVF.
Like many of you, the news of me having PID came as a shock and left me ever so confused, trying to understand how I had contracted the infection. I asked my doctor all kinds of questions as we humans naturally search for a reason so we can understand and move forward with it but unfortunately the doctor could not give me solid answers and so I am left to deal with the unknown. I hope no one has to experience what I have over the past couple of years; it has taken its toll emotionally that’s for sure. So ladies please be careful and go for regular checks even if you are the safest person out there don’t take anything for granted.
Being infertile is quite possibly every woman’s fear and to have this confirmed is so heartbreaking I cannot even describe how all this has and is affecting me – I actually do not feel like a woman right now. My husband and I are looking to start IVF in the New Year and I am currently off work with depression and receiving counselling from the infertility experts. This post was not to frighten anyone, this is just my personal experience, please remember not everyone who has had or who has PID will have the same outcome or experiences. I felt the need to share my story for myself as my counsellor advised and for anyone who has had a similar experience for you to know I feel you and you’re certainly not going through it alone.
My husband and I now have to face the biggest emotional roller coaster of our lives as we begin IVF! I am extremely worried about this, it is an expensive procedure but one we have to undertake if we want to try have children of our own…….please wish us luck – I don’t have much of it myself and could do with a little right now.
Thank you for reading this post xx
Hi Emmy Lou –
What a tumultuous experience you’ve endured. Thank you, kindly, for opening up and sharing your story here. The process is cathartic, and it will help others to know they are not alone as well.
Many thanks and, of course, the best of luck as you undergo IVF!
I am very grateful this site is here because I am in a bit of a confused state and could do with some clear independent advice.
My fiancée has paid a visit to the clinic with a card for me saying that I may have come into contact with PID.
Now we have been together for 10 months. And have with the exception of the briefest of slips (less than a second) never engaged in any unsafe sex, in actual fact we have very little penetrative sex at all although we do use sex toys. (but these are also always covered with a condom)
Prior to us getting together I had had a number of partners and had actually had a full check up at a different clinic, this thankfully came back all clear. But now I wonder about this card. I don’t know how I can have caught something that may have caused PID. And I don’t know how I can have caused it.
Is this an effective accusation of infidelity on her behalf – or would the clinic have advised her that she must have caught it from me? I can’t believe she has been unfaithful.
Could this have lay dormant for some time? The symptoms she has experienced are quite recent. There is some pain during sexual activity, and whilst there has been no odourous discharge she has noticed some quite discoloured discharge on occasion. There has also been some pain at around the time of ovulation and periods have been a bit irregular but we did put this down to her having come off the contraceptive pill after about a decade.
Reading through these comments I get worried as there is an absence of an STD and also of any of the other contributory factors, she doesn’t douche for example. She doesn’t have a coil or any of the others.
Also we have talked about having kids, but now I am worried (for her as much as anything) that this maybe a long standing issue and there may be some long standing outcomes. And right now I am being a really rubbish boyfriend because I am trying to be matter of fact about things, worried about myself and half ignoring the issue and I dare say I probably look really unsupportive.
I am going to take this card to a local clinic tomorrow and will see what they say, but any input you can give would be very gratefully received. .
Hi Ian –
I can understand your concern – your worries are quite common, not necessarily insensitive, and are just part of the shock which often accompanies this kind of diagnosis.
“Prior to us getting together I had had a number of partners and had actually had a full check up at a different clinic, this thankfully came back all clear.”
Keep in mind, depending upon when you were tested (if you had been recently infected, for instance), you could have received a false negative.
“Is this an effective accusation of infidelity on her behalf – or would the clinic have advised her that she must have caught it from me?”
No, this is not a guarantee she’s been unfaithful. Likely, the clinic advised her that she needed to tell her partner and that you should both be tested/treated.
“Could this have lay dormant for some time?”
Yes. The most common symptom of all STDs – especially bacterial STDs which are the most common cause of PID – is no symptom at all. With PID, in particular, it’s usually not until some harm has been done to the reproductive system that a women will experience noticeable symptoms.
“now I am worried (for her as much as anything) that this maybe a long standing issue”
That’s certainly a possibility and is why you should find out as much as you can and be as supportive as possible, of course.
Hopefully this helps!
I am a very closed person so it took me sometime to finally get the courage to write. Here’s the story.
When I was 19 years old i got pregnant twice and due to college and my situation i choose not to keep the baby. Last year after breaking up with my ex he called me two weeks later and said he was having symptoms of an STD i had just gotten tested three months before that and everything was clear so i thought it was his way of trying to get me back. I immediately ran to the ER and told them the situation, however they wouldn’t test me just treat me. So three days later I went to The clinic to get tested and all my results came back Negative. I always wonder was it due to the antibiotics the hospital gave me or was my Ex lying to me. My mom who is a pharmacist said that, it wouldnt be cleared out of my system that fast.
So about two months after that i started getting weird abdominal pain on one side. I had many sonograms and blood work and they all came back normal. I have had one cyst but it was functional so the OBGYN said it was nothing to worry about. Its been a year since then and im still having this pain that comes right before ovulation and right before my period. Sex only hurts during ovulation and its only on my right side. My OBGYN doesnt think i have PID but i want to get checked just in case. Im in love with a wonderful man who i know is the one, i couldnt dream of never conceiving again What do you think?
Hi Ace –
I can see why you’d be confused and worried. So, let’s break down what you’ve said here…
“I immediately ran to the ER and told them the situation, however they wouldn’t test me just treat me. So three days later I went to The clinic to get tested and all my results came back Negative. I always wonder was it due to the antibiotics the hospital gave me or was my Ex lying to me.”
There’s really no way to tell if your ex was lying, but getting tested 3 days after taking antibiotics can definitely affect the results. Keep in mind, when you are tested and what you are tested for are both important factors here. Most folks aren’t aware of which specific test are being done – they just think they’re being tested for all STDs. There are over 20 different kinds of sexually transmitted infections and diseases. Most panels test for 3-5 of them, some can’t be tested for at all, and others are not widely tested. Also, anytime you’re tested, it’s important to be aware of testing windows – recent infections might not be caught and, therefore, you could receive a false negative.
“My OBGYN doesnt think i have PID but i want to get checked just in case.”
The way I see it, you have a couple of different options here. You could take your OBGYN’s advice and/or encourage your physician to test you again and to help you determine the cause of the pain you’re experiencing, or you could seek a second opinion. Personally, if I were experiencing pain, I wouldn’t just accept that it’s nothing to worry about (I’m kind of stubborn like that), and I’d make sure the necessary steps were taken to determine the pain’s origin – whether that means pushing your current physician a little bit or seeking the advice of another professional, that’s up to you.
Help please! I had sex with someone condom came off….3 days later general symptom of gonerria…i chose to get treated with 1000 mg of zithromax…all tests came back negative….i know my body and have had some tricomonis diagnoses in the past….how do u tell so.e u only had sex with 4 times that they have something….but my tests came back negative….this can cause some violent reactions from Men…the std medical world needs to get better…..the testing needs to be way more accurate….humans and condoms do make mistakes….
Hi lonely7 –
Humans definitely do make mistakes, and that doesn’t mean they’re bad people. Condoms, however, are usually quite reliable when used consistently and correctly, but most people don’t use them correctly. 🙂
In terms of the negative tests, it’s likely because you tested too soon or the treatment interfered with the results. STD testing windows are important when trying to get the most accurate result, and it’s probably a good idea to get tested again once you’re within those windows.
It definitely is tough to tell someone you have or have had an STD, and we provide some advice on how to tell someone as well.
Thanks for your comment!
I have just today been diagnosed with PID and I am devastated. I went to my doctor in January complaining of pain during sex and odd pains around my pelvis, only to have a STI check and be told that it was unlikely I would have PID as my results for STI’s were negative. My doctor completely dismissed the idea and was adamant I had endo. Now here I am months down the line and feeling extremely upset about what this has done to my fertility. Having children is literally all I could possibly ask for and whilst I don’t plan on having babies for a few years yet I am really concerned about the progression of my PID and the damage it may have done.
I have found on the internet that if a woman is feeling pain, and major symptoms then it means alot of damage has already been done. I have had stinging and sharp pains around my bellybutton, aches, twinges and shooting pain around my pelvis, deep pain during sex, sharp pain in my upper right side and a tender and bloated stomach. I feel like this maybe a sign it was discovered to late 🙁
I have also read that if caught early usually damage is minimal but I can’t find anywhere where it says what is classed as early. I am wondering if you have any info on this?
I am so so upset about this and it’s worrying me sick that I may be infertile.
Hi Jenna –
You ask a really good question. It sounds like you may have some long-term damage. Pelvic inflammatory disease often causes pelvic pain, and some cases can lead to chronic pelvic pain if left untreated for too long, but, as you’ve discovered, ‘too long’ is relative, and there’s no clear definition of what duration is ‘too long’. Basically, if you’re experiencing chronic pain as a result of a PID infection, it was left untreated for too long. Too long basically means any time past which there is long-term or irreparable damage, and that can differ for every woman, as well as it can differ for every cause of PID.
If you have damage in and around the reproductive organs, it may require surgical intervention. Surgery to remove scarring caused by PID does not always reverse chronic pelvic pain, and it cannot always repair fertility issues, but you and your physician will be able to cross that bridge when you come to it, and excessive worrying (I know, it’s obnoxious to read that) won’t help. Instead, I say, take action.
So, what can you do?
First, damage (if any) to your fallopian tubes has to be assessed. You may be offered a minor surgical investigation called a laparoscopy. This will allow your doctor to have a good look at your fallopian tubes and any scarring, blockages or adhesions. You could also be offered a ‘lap and dye’ test, where a colored dye is injected into your fallopian tubes to check for blockages and other problems.
If a problem is found, there are a couple of treatment options which include:
in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment
tubal surgery to repair any damage or unblock your fallopian tubes
So, the good news is all hope is definitely not lost. Rather, you just have to do some additional digging and follow-up to assess what kind of long-term damage was done (if any).
Thanks so much for reaching out, Jenna!