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Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a bacterial infection of the female upper genital tract, including the womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries.
Many more women with PID experience few or no symptoms.
PID mostly affects sexually active women between the ages of 15 and 24.
Most cases of PID are caused by an infection that has spread from the birth canalor the neck of the womb (cervix) to the reproductive organs higher up.
Many different types of bacteria can cause PID, but most cases are the result of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea.
This means that the most effective way of preventing PID is to protect yourself against STIs by using a barrier method of contraception such as a male or female condom, and to get regular sexual health check-ups-
When infection spreads upwards from the cervix (entrance to the womb), it causes one or more of the following:
Inflammation and infection of the endometrium (womb lining), known as endometritis
Inflammation and infection of the fallopian tubes, known as salpingitis
Inflammation and infection of the tissue around the womb, known as parametritis
Inflammation and infection of the ovaries, known as oophoritis
A pocket of infected fluid in the ovary and fallopian tube, known as an abscess
Inflammation and infection of the peritoneum (lining of the inside of the abdomen), known as pelvic peritonitis
If you develop salpingitis, the lining of the fallopian tubes swells and the canals become even narrower. This means that fertilised eggs may not be able to move along them normally, increasing the risk of ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy that starts outside of the womb) and infertility.
The symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) are fairly general, which means the condition can be difficult to diagnose.
The warning signs include:
Pain around the pelvis or lower abdomen
Discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse that is felt deep inside the pelvis
Pain during urination
Bleeding between periods and after sex
Unusual vaginal discharge, especially if it is yellow or green
Fever and vomiting
Pain in the rectum (back passage)
You may have PID without being aware of it. Sometimes there are no symptoms at all or symptoms may not be obvious. For example, you may only experience mild discomfort.
It's important to see your doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms. Delaying treatment or having repeated episodes of PID can increase your risk of infertility.
Check out if you fall into the risk group for PID. Risk group includes:
Have more than one sexual partner
Have a history of sexually transmitted infections
Are under 25
Started having sex at a young age
Have a partner who has sex with others or is bisexual
Using a barrier contraceptive, such as a condom, Femidom or cervical cap. Barrier contraceptive methods, used consistently and carefully, reduce (but do not remove altogether) the risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
It is also important to get regular sexual health check-ups at your local sexual health clinic.
Get a check-up if you change your partner or have unprotected sex with a casual partner, or if you think your partner has been having sex with someone else.
Avoid having sexual intercourse until you have completed your treatment. This is because having sex can interrupt the healing process.
Any sexual partners you have been with in the six months before your symptoms started should be tested and treated to stop the infection recurring. If you have not had a sexual partner in the previous six months, contact your most recent partner.
Current and recent partners should be seen in a sexual health clinic for testing and treatment. Do not have sex with a previous partner unless you are sure that they have received treatment.
Women often experience repeated episodes of PID, this is known as recurrent pelvic inflammatory disease. The more often a woman gets PID, the more likely she is to get it in the future.
The condition can return if the initial infection is not entirely cured or because a sexual partner has not been tested and treated.
If an initial episode of PID damages the cervix, it can become easier for bacteria to move into the reproductive organs in the future, making you more susceptible to developing the condition again. Repeated episodes of PID are associated with an increased risk of infertility.
Sometimes, PID can cause abscesses on the lips at the entrance of the vagina (Bartholin's cysts) and in the fallopian tubes and ovaries. An abscess is a collection of infected fluid. It can usually be treated with antibiotics. If an abscess does not respond to antibiotics, you may require surgery.
It is important that abscesses inside the pelvis are either treated or removed, as an abscess that bursts can be potentially life threatening.
PID can make a woman infertile by scarring the fallopian tubes so severely that it makes it impossible for the egg to travel down into the womb. Delaying treatment for PID can increase your chances of becoming infertile.
If you want to get pregnant after becoming infertile from PID, you could consider an assisted conception technique such as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).
Rarely, Ectopic pregnancy
The word ectopic means in the wrong place. In a normal pregnancy, the fertilised egg implants in the womb lining. An ectopic pregnancy is one that occurs outside the womb.
More than 95% of ectopic pregnancies occur in a fallopian tube. If PID develops in the fallopian tubes, it can scar the lining of the tubes, making it more difficult for eggs to pass through. If a fertilised egg gets stuck and begins to grow inside the tube, it can cause the tube to burst, which can sometimes lead to severe internal bleeding. Ectopic pregnancy can be life threatening.
Pelvic floor exercises can help keep your birth canal in shape. These are good for maintaining good pelvic floor tone and can improve sexual function. This keeps infection in check reducing the risk of PID.
Normal exercise also helps maintain good vaginal function, as walking and running helps the pelvic floor tone up and helps ensure good general health.
To strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, sit comfortably and squeeze the muscles 10-15 times in a row. Do not hold your breath or tighten your stomach, buttock, or thigh muscles at the same time.
When you get used to doing pelvic floor exercises, you can try holding each squeeze for a few seconds. Every week, you can add more squeezes, but be careful not to overdo it and always have a rest in between sets of squeezes.
How To Do
Pelvic Floor Exercises?
Close up your anus as if you are trying toprevent a bowel movement
At the same time draw in your vagina (birth canal) as if you are gripping a tampon and your urethra as if to stop the urine
At first do this exercise quickly tightening and releasing the muscles immediately
Then do it slowly,holding the contractions for as long as you can before you relax, try to count 10
Try to do 3 sets of 8 squeezes every day and to help you remember you could do a set at each meal.
Use condoms every time you have sex, limit your number of partners and ask about a potential partner's sexual history.
If you're at risk of an STI, such as chlamydia, make an appointment with your doctor for testing. Set up a regular screening schedule with your doctor, if necessary. Investigating and treating an STI early gives you the best chances of avoiding pelvic inflammatory disease.
Request that your partner be tested
If you have pelvic inflammatory disease or an STI, advise your partner to be tested and, if necessary, treated. This can prevent the spread of STIs and possible recurrence of PID.
Douching upsets the delicate balance of bacteria in your vagina
Pay attention to hygiene habits
Wipe from front to back after urinating or having a bowel movement to avoid introducing bacteria from your colon into the vagina.
Cope up with the disease
Often a diagnosis of pelvic inflammatory disease accompanies infection with a sexually transmitted infection. Finding out that you have an STI can be traumatic. Put your initial shock on hold so that you can take the steps immediately necessary to get treated and to prevent reinfection.
Say no to alcohol
Alcohol changes the way you act, and affects your decision making. The more you drink, the less careful you are, and this can have serious consequences when it comes to sex and your personal safety
Practical Tips Cover The
Basics Of Healthy Eating, And Can Help You Make Healthier Choices:
Base your meals on starchy foods
Starchy foods should make up around one third of the foods you eat. Starchy foods include potatoes, cereals, pasta, rice and bread. Choose wholegrain varieties (or eat potatoes with their skins on) when you can: they contain more fibre, and can make you feel full for longer.
Most of us should eat more starchy foods: try to include at least one starchy food with each main meal. Some people think starchy foods are fattening, but gram for gram they contain fewer than half the calories of fat.
Eat lots of fruit and veg
It's recommended that we eat at least five portions of different types of fruit and veg a day. A glass of 100% unsweetened fruit juice can count as one portion, and vegetables cooked into dishes also count.
Eat more fish
Fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals. Aim to eat at least two portions a week, including at least one portion of oily fish. Oily fish is high in omega-3 fats
Oily fish include salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, fresh tuna, sardines and pilchards.
Cut down on saturated fat and sugar
We all need some fat in our diet. But it's important to pay attention to the amount and type of fat we're eating. Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood
Saturated fat is found in many foods, such as hard cheese, cakes, biscuits, sausages, cream, butter, lard and pies. Try to cut down, and choose foods that contain unsaturated rather than saturated fats, such as vegetable oils, oily fish and avocados.
For a healthier choice, use a just a small amount of vegetable oil or reduced-fat spread instead of butter, lard or ghee. When you're having meat, choose lean cuts and cut off any visible fat.
Cut down on sugary fizzy drinks, alcoholic drinks, cakes, biscuits and pastries, which contain added sugars: this is the kind of sugar we should be cutting down on rather than sugars that are found naturally in foods such as fruit and milk.
Food labels can help: use them to check how much sugar foods contain. More than 22.5g of sugar per 100g means that the food is high in sugar.
Eat less salt
More than 1.5g of salt per 100g means the food is high in salt. Adults and children over 11 should eat no more than 6g of salt a day.
Don't get thirsty
We need to drink about 1.2 litres of fluid every day to stop us getting dehydrated. This is in addition to the fluid we get from the food we eat. All non-alcoholic drinks count, but water, milk and fruit juices are the most healthy. Try to avoid sugary soft and fizzy drinks that are high in added sugars and can be high in calories and bad for teeth. When the weather is warm, or when we get active, we may need more.
Don't skip breakfast
A healthy breakfast is an important part of a balanced diet, and provides some of the vitamins and minerals we need for good health. Wholemeal cereal, with fruit sliced over the top is a tasty and nutritious breakfast.