What are pelvic inflammatory diseases?
Pelvic inflammatory diseases are infections of the upper reproductive organs, such as the ovaries, the uterus and the Fallopian tubes. In the United States alone, more than one million women are affected by pelvic inflammatory diseases every year. More than 100,000 of these women become infertile every year.
Pelvic inflammatory diseases are caused when germs move upward from the vagina and cervix. Most cases stem from sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia infection.
How are pelvic inflammatory diseases diagnosed?
Pelvic inflammatory diseases can be difficult to diagnose. The affected organs are not easy to examine, and symptoms may be similar to those of other conditions. To determine if you have a pelvic inflammatory disease, Dr. Sargent may conduct one or more of the following:
- a review of your medical history, including sexual habits and birth control
- a pelvic exam to see if your reproductive organs are tender
- blood tests
- taking a sample of cells from your cervix for examination
- ultrasound imaging, which uses sound waves to view your reproductive organs
- endometrial biopsy, which removes a small amount of uterine tissue lining for examination
- a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure, which uses a thin tube inserted through a small incision near or in the navel to view organs or take tissue samples
How is pelvic inflammatory disease treated?
In most cases, pelvic inflammatory disease can be treated with antibiotics, taken orally or by injection. The condition may continue after symptoms disappear, so be sure to take all the prescribed medicine.
If antibiotics are not successful, pelvic inflammatory diseases may have to be treated in the hospital. This is especially true if there are complications, such as pregnancy, high fever or an abscess.
If you have been diagnosed with a pelvic inflammatory disease, any sexual partners should also be treated, even if there are no signs of illness.