SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an an infection or inflammation of organs affecting the female reproductive system (such as the uterus, vagina and fallopian tubes).
- PID commonly affects young sexually active women. For some, PID causes a range of symptoms while for others, it does not cause any.
- Sexually transmissible infections (STIs) - chlamydia, mycoplasma genitalium and gonorrhoea are the most common cause of PID.
- Use condoms with any new partner and get regular testing for STIs (at least once a year) can reduce your risk of PID.
- PID can lead to scarring of the fallopian tubes and infertility – if you leave it untreated, or have repeated episodes.
What is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)?
- uterus (womb) and endometrium (lining of the uterus)
- fallopian tubes
PID can cause chronic pelvic pain in some people, while in others symptoms can be mild or silent – meaning some people may not even know they have PID.
PID is treatable, if left untreated it can cause:
PID can affect anyone, but sexually active women in their 20s are commonly affected.
PID usually occurs over 3 stages:
- starting in the cervix
- followed by the endometrium
- then the fallopian tubes.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) causes
Other causes of PID include:
- bowel infection (such as )
- vaginal infections (such as )
- some surgical procedures (such as , insertion of an or ).
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) symptoms
Signs and symptoms of PID can include:
- lower or tenderness that may worsen with movement
- menstrual problems (such as , , heavy discharge)
- change in smell, colour or amount of vaginal discharge (such as unpleasant or ‘fishy’ odour)
- bleeding and spotting after sex
- painful sex (dyspareunia)
- nausea and vomiting.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility risk
Having PID may have an impact on your fertility in the following ways:
- One episode of PID can double your risk of tubal infertility.
- If you have had 3 or more episodes of PID, your risk of fallopian tube blockage increases 75%
- One episode of PID increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy (where the fetus develops outside the uterus) sevenfold.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) diagnosis
Depending on the cause of your PID, diagnosis may include:
- a physical examination of your pelvic area to check for tenderness and swelling
- urine test
- swabs of the vagina and cervix
- (pelvic or transvaginal)
- – in some cases, this is required to correctly diagnose PID. During this procedure, a sample of tissue () may be taken.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) treatment
Persistent pelvic pain can occur if PID is not treated. This is usually due to extensive scarring.
Early treatment of PID may minimise the risk of complications.
Treatment usually involves:
- a combination of antibiotics that act against a range of organisms (usually taken for 2 weeks)
- avoiding sexual contact until you have finished your treatment and you have no symptoms
- testing your partners and treating them
- if an is the cause, your doctor may organise to have it removed and suggest other forms of treatment
- in rare cases, a . This can happen for various reasons including – severe symptoms, uncertain diagnosis, abscesses, or you are unresponsive to recommended treatments.
Preventing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
To help reduce your risk of PID and transmitting the bacteria that causes it:
- – use and ) during any form of sexual contact (including vaginal, or anal sex) with your partner/s.
- If you are sexually active, get tested at least every 12 months for STIs.
- – more regularly if you have multiple sexual partners (including casual partners) over a short period.
- See your GP or health clinic if you notice any symptoms or suspect you may have PID.
- If you are or are , get tested for STIs.
- If you have an STI, let your sexual partners know. If you feel uncomfortable, your GP or sexual health centre can help. You can also notify partners anonymously through the .
Where to get help
- Your local community health service
- , The Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne Tel. , regional or rural callers Tel.
- NURSE-ON-CALL Tel. – for expert health information and advice (24 hours, 7 days)
- Your pharmacist (including after hours )
- – Victoria’s sexual and reproductive health information and phone line service Tel. 1800 My Options ()
- – or call Melbourne CBD Clinic: , Box Hill Clinic: or (free call): (Monday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm). These services are youth friendly.
- (Monday to Friday 8:30 am – 5 pm) Tel. or or National Relay Service (for people with a hearing impairment)
- Partner Notification Officers can help you anonymously notify your sexual partners. Tel.
- – free and anonymous service
- Tel. or (toll free)
- , St Kilda Tel.
- (Monday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm) Tel. or email:
- Clinic for men who have sex with men. Book online or Tel. Tel.
- – book online or Tel.
- – book online Tel. or
- , Wodonga (Monday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm) Tel. and Wangaratta Tel. or email:
- Mildura (Monday to Friday 8:30 am – 5 pm) Tel. or email to:
- (no GP referral, walk-in service Tuesdays 2 pm – 6:30 pm) Tel.
- Fitzroy: Tel. and Preston Tel. (Monday to Friday 10 am – 4 pm) and after-hours locum service Tel. or Epping: Tel. (Monday to Thursday 9 am-5 pm, Friday 9 am-4 pm)