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What is pelvic inflammatory disease?

Learn about pelvic inflammatory disease, the term for a group of infections in the female reproductive organs.

PID is used to define a group of infections in the female reproductive organs. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
PID is used to define a group of infections in the female reproductive organs.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a term used for a group of infections in the female reproductive organs, for example, inflammations of the fallopian tubes, cervix, uterus and ovaries. It is the most common cause of female infertility today.

PID is most often found in sexually active women under the age of 25 and occur as the result of gonorrhea or chlamydia.

Aerobic or anaerobic organisms such as Neisseria gonorrhoeae can cause acute cervicitis, which causes a foul-smelling vaginal discharge accompanied by itching, burning, and pelvic discomfort, often resulting in infertility and spontaneous abortion. Common bacteria such as staphylocci, chlamydiae and coliforms may produce acute endometritis (characterized by oozing vaginal discharge with ulteration, lower abdominal pain and spasms and fever).

PID may be fatal if left untreated.

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