Pelvic Inflammatory Disease And Fertility

Each year in the U.S., there are approximately 1,000,000 cases of pelvic inflammatory disease or PID. PID causes infertility in an estimated 100,000 women annually. This condition also leads to dangerous ectopic pregnancies. If you are sexually active and under 25 years of age, you are more likely to get PID than any other demographic group. Most cases of PID are caused by STDs, so to protect your fertility, you should ask your healthcare professional about being tested. 

PID: What it is

PID is an infection of the uterus, Fallopian tubes, ovaries, and/or cervix. The condition does not always produce physical symptoms, but in some cases, the patient will develop a fever, vaginal discharge, and stomach or pelvic pain. Sometimes, painful urination and intercourse also occur. This disease can cause pelvic adhesions, scarred fallopian tubes, and Tubo-ovarian abscesses. Although PID can be eliminated by antibiotics, some of the damage it causes may be permanent.  

Gonorrhea and Chlamydia: What causes it

The Center for Disease Control recommends that all sexually active women under 25 be screened for chlamydia and gonorrhea. Each year, approximately 820,000 cases of gonorrhea and 2.86 million cases of chlamydia occur in the U.S. Ten to fifteen percent of those with untreated chlamydia will develop PID, which can threaten their fertility.

STD Testing: How to prevent it


Your doctor will not automatically give you an STD test. If your healthcare professional does not ask if you want a test, you will need to speak up and ask for one. You may need several tests because one does not detect all of the possible STDs you might have. To determine which tests you need, you will be asked a series of questions about your sexual partners and practices as well as any physical symptoms you may be experiencing. Your doctor might need to do a physical exam as well as take a blood and/or urine sample. You may also be asked to give a tissue or saliva sample. Some healthcare clinics provide this testing for free, so check online or with your regular physician for testing centers in your area. 

STDs must be treated to avoid long-term damage to your health. If you have yet to be tested, consult your doctor about having the necessary lab work done. Left untreated, some STDs may cause PID, which can lead to infertility. At a very young age, some women are losing their ability to conceive naturally. If you are under 25 and sexually active, make an appointment for your free STD testing today.