You can have PID and not have any symptoms. For example, chlamydia can cause PID with no symptoms. Women who have an ectopic pregnancy or who are infertile often have PID caused by chlamydia. An ectopic pregnancy is when an egg grows outside of the uterus. It puts the mother's life in danger.
Exams and Tests
Your health care provider may do a pelvic exam to look for:
Bleeding from your cervix. The cervix is the opening to your uterus.
Fluid coming out of your cervix
Pain when your cervix is touched
Tenderness in your uterus, tubes, or ovaries
You may have lab tests to check for signs of infection:
Your doctor will often have you start taking antibiotics while waiting for your test results.
If you have a mild PID:
Your health care provider will give you a shot containing an antibiotic.
You will be sent home with antibiotic pills to take for up to 2 weeks.
You will need to follow-up closely with your health care provider.
If you have a more severe PID:
You may need to stay in the hospital.
You may be given antibiotics through a vein (IV).
Later, you may be given antibiotic pills to take by mouth.
There are many different antibiotics that can treat PID. Some are safe for pregnant women. What type you take depends on the cause of the infection. You may receive a different treatment depending on if you have gonorrhea or chlamydia.
Your sexual partner must be treated as well.
If you have more than one sexual partner, they must all be treated.
If your partner is not treated, your partner can infect you again.
Both you and your partner must finish taking all of your antibiotics.
Use condoms until you both have finished taking antibiotics.
PID infections can cause scarring of the pelvic organs. This can cause:
Meyers D, Wolff T, Gregory K, et al. USPSTF recommendations for STI screening. Am Fam Physician. 2008;77:819-824.
Workowski KA, Berman S; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2010. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2010;59(RR-12):1-110.
Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.