Fertility and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Fertility and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic Inflammatory disease (PID) is a common infection suffered by women that affects the female reproductive tract.  Commonly the organs that are affected are the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus.  Approximately 1 in 7 women will contract PID from sources such as a tainted IUD, sexually transmitted diseases or common vaginal flora that is able to breach the cervical barrier during pregnancy and childbirth.

A pelvic inflammatory disease infection is a serious problem for women because it can become chronic if not treated completely or it can recur.  In either case because of the consistent inflammation and scarring in the reproductive tract it can result in infertility.

In fact, PID is among the most common reasons for women to become infertile in their childbearing years.  PID can also cause ectopic pregnancies.  This means that the egg becomes fertilized and implants in the fallopian tube rather than implanting in the uterus.  The egg begins to grow in this tiny space that then can rupture if it isn”t diagnosed early.  An ectopic pregnancy is the leading cause of death in women in their first trimester.

Women who are at higher risk of PID are those who have multiple sexual partners, are sexually active at an early age, use an IUD and engage in risk taking behaviors such as drinking alcohol or using recreational drugs.  Women can also reduce their chances of contracting PID by using a barrier method of contraception (birth control) such as a diaphragm and spermicidal cream.  These barriers help to reduce the chance that an infection will occur that can break the cervical barrier.

Approximately 15% of women who experience PID will also experience infertility.  At times the PID will cause abscesses in the wall of the uterus or fallopian tubes which will require surgical intervention and removal and which will leave permanent scar tissue.

Symptoms of PID include discharge from the vagina, pain with urination or intercourse, bleeding after intercourse, pain in the abdomen, fever and nausea.  Because these symptoms can also mimic other medical diagnosis it is important if you have had these symptoms in the past or have them currently that you are examined by a practitioner who can recommend treatment.

Treatment for PID involves the use of medications and antibiotics for a six month period of time to totally eradicate the infection from the reproductive tract.  The cause of the infertility problems with pelvic inflammatory disease revolves around the scarring done to the tissues and organs as well as the inflammation to the tissues.

Infertility problems may involve damage to the ovaries impacting ovulation, damage to the fallopian tubes so the egg and sperm don”t meet or damage to the lining of the uterus so the egg isn”t able to implant.  These are more physical and functional issues as opposed to hormonal issues and pelvic abnormalities that may have been an issue since birth.

Women who suffer recurring urinary tract infections and recurrent yeast infections may also have pelvic inflammatory disease that is asymptomatic.


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