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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Overview :

PID is the most common and the most serious consequence of infection with sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in women. Over one million cases of PID are diagnosed annually in the United States, and it is the most common cause for hospitalization of reproductive-age women. Sexually active women aged 15-25 are at highest risk for developing PID. The disease can also occur, although less frequently, in women having monogamous sexual relationships. The most serious consequences of PID are increased risk of infertility and ectopic pregnancy.

To understand PID, it is helpful to understand the basics of inflammation. Inflammation is the body's response to disease-causing (pathogenic) microorganisms. The affected body part may swell due to accumulation of fluid in the tissue or may become reddened due to an excessive accumulation of blood. A discharge (pus) may be produced that consists of white blood cells and dead tissue. Following inflammation, scar tissue may form by the proliferation of scar-forming cells and is called fibrosis. Adhesions of fibrous tissue form and cause organs or parts of organs to stick together.

PID may be used synonymously with the following terms:

  • salpingitis (Inflammation of the fallopian tubes)
  • endometritis (Inflammation of the inside lining of the body of the uterus)
  • tubo-ovarian abscesses (Abscesses in the tubes and ovaries)
  • pelvic peritonitis (Inflammation inside of the abdominal cavity surrounding the female reproductive organs)

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