Left untreated, or even treated late, PID can cause chronic pelvic pain. This can manifest as severe pain during intercourse and/or pain in the lower abdomen (which can also be quite severe).
The pain changes in severity depending on the time of the month
During ovulation, scar tissue becomes easily inflamed, which increases pain during intercourse. If you have PID, you might want to avoid penetration during that particular time of the month, or find positions that don't hurt as much.
No pain does not mean no problem
Depending on the cause of PID, you may have different symptoms. PID caused by chlamydia is normally asymptomatic, which means that many women only discover they have it when they seek treatment for infertility. However, you may find that you have symptoms such as:
- Higher-than-normal body temperature.
- Irregular periods
- Lower back pain
- Rectal pain
- Unusual vaginal discharge
Nobody likes visiting the gynecologist, and with many of the symptoms you might not even think you need to. But irregular periods and unusual vaginal discharge should always be looked into. Lower back pain is a frequent symptom of many gynecological conditions as well.
PID can cause abscesses
An abscess is essentially an infected sore, and in PID, this can occur on the lips at the entrance of the vagina (known as Bartholin's cysts), as well as in the fallopian tubes and ovaries. This is normally treated with antibiotics. If the abscess does not respond to antibiotics, it may require surgery to drain it safely. It is vital that abscesses inside the pelvis be treated or removed as soon as possible, because they are potentially life threatening if they burst.
If you've had it once, you are likely to have it again
Sad but true: Women often experience repeated episodes of PID. The more often you get PID, the more likely you are to get it again in the future. The condition tends to return if the initial infection is not totally cured (which is why it is very important to complete a course of antibiotics), or because a sexual partner has not been tested and treated for STIs (another very important conversation to have).
Even if your partners are STI-free and you've completed your course of antibiotics, if the first episode of PID has damaged your cervix, it becomes easier for bacteria to move into your reproductive tract, putting you at risk for developing the condition again. Repeated episodes of PID are correlated with an increased risk of infertility.
Using condoms and getting tested for STIs can help prevent PID
PID isn't always caused by STIs, but contracting an STI is the most preventable cause of the disease. Practicing safer sexand eliminating these most common culprits will increase your chances of avoiding PID. Plus, safer sex is sexy sex. And there's nothing sexier than taking good care of the your body and your health.