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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

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Signs and Symptoms

A woman with PID may have no symptoms, mild discomfort, chronic and/or progressive pain, or she may be severely and acutely ill. The severity of symptoms is unrelated to the damage caused as, for example, chlamydia may cause fallopian tube infection with only mild discomfort. Many of the signs and symptoms of PID are nonspecific and may be seen with a variety of other conditions that affect the pelvic area. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the lower abdomen – the most common symptom
  • Vaginal or cervical discharge with an unpleasant smell
  • Intermittent fever
  • Painful sexual intercourse, sometimes with bleeding
  • Painful urination
  • Irregular or cessation of menstrual bleeding
  • Nausea

Complications of PID include infertility, chronic pelvic pain, lesions on an ovary or fallopian tube, and ectopic pregnancy. Even a small amount of scarring in the fallopian tubes can impair fertility by preventing an egg from becoming fertilized or a fertilized egg from reaching the uterus. If a fertilized egg begins to develop in a fallopian tube, it can rupture the tube, causing a life-threatening emergency with internal bleeding and severe pain.

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