Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

PID can be caused by many different bacteria, including Chlamydia and gonorrhea. It occurs when these bacteria move up from the vagina or cervix into the uterus and other reproductive organs.

Getting Tested

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Type of Test

Diagnosis is usually based on the presence of typical symptoms when other serious conditions (like appendicitis or ectopic pregnancy) can be excluded. In rare cases, a health care provider may use a laparoscope to view the fallopian tubes to confirm inflammation.

Test Timing

Because diagnosis is based on symptoms and patient history, there is no specific timing for test results.

  • Many women with PID don’t have any symptoms at all. If they do have symptoms, they may include abdominal, cervical or uterine pain or tenderness, along with fever or chills. Symptoms of PID usually occur in the first five to ten days of a woman’s menstrual cycle.

  • Numerous bacteria can cause PID, so it is treated with a combination of antibiotics. Depending on the severity of symptoms, antibiotics may be given through an IV or orally. Some PID infections may require hospitalization.

  • If left untreated, PID can have potentially life-threatening complications, including ectopic pregnancy and pelvic abscess. It can also lead to infertility, chronic abdominal pain, pelvic scar tissue, hysterectomy and depression.

  • As with all STIs, the most effective protection is to abstain from sexual activity or to be monogamous with one long-term partner who has tested negative for genital bacterial infections associated with PID in females. Latex condoms or dental dams can help reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the infections that lead to PID.