How to Treat and Prevent Pelvic Inflammatory Diseases (PID)

10 minutes read.   

image credit: Eastside Gynecology

It is important you understand that some bacteria are beneficial to us and a good number of them are even living happily inside your body doing their work of protection in different parts of the body.

However, when the unwanted bacteria enter your body, your body may notice immediately or later and become uncomfortable. 

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a type of bacterial infection that affects some women’s reproductive systems.

PID most commonly affects women of reproductive age who are under the age of 35.

The infection can cause severe damage to the fallopian tubes, including loss of the ciliary that helps to move the egg along the Fallopian tube down to the uterus and blocking of the tube.

One unfortunate complication due to PID that some women experience is infertility (the inability to get pregnant).

This article reveals everything you need to know about pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) including how to treat already existing one and how to prevent getting infected in the first place.

Feel free to skim through.

What Is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)?

Pelvic inflammatory disease is the inflammation of the female reproductive tract (such as the fallopian tubes and ovaries).

It occurs especially as a result of a sexually transmitted disease and has become the leading cause of infertility in women.

About 1 in 8 women with a history of PID will have trouble getting pregnant. Others who do become pregnant are at a higher risk for pregnancy-related complications.

One of the reasons it’s so important to treat pelvic inflammatory disease as soon as possible is because of its tendency to spread and worsen.

PID infection can spread from the vagina to other parts of the genital tract, including the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.

Sometimes symptoms due to PID will not be obvious at all. But other times pain, scarring, and permanent damage can develop.

The good news is that like other STDs, pelvic inflammatory disease is usually preventable.

Infections that are not sexually transmitted can sometimes cause PID. But there are ways to lower your risk for these types of infections too.

Signs & Symptoms of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease vary from person to person. In some cases, no symptoms are experienced at all.

Other times they might be only mild, and for some women, symptoms can be very painful and severe.

It’s not uncommon for a woman with PID to be completely unaware of the problem, due to how symptoms are commonly barely noticeable or confused with other health problems.

Some women only find out they have PID years down the road once they have difficulty trying to get pregnant.

Some of the most common pelvic inflammatory disease symptoms include:

  • Lower abdominal pain, which can be felt on only one side or both sides.
  • Tenderness and sensitivity around the genital area.
  • Painful sex, sometimes leads to bleeding during or after intercourse.
  • Irregular periods.
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge, including discharge that appears yellow or green (a sign of infection).
  • Burning sensations when urinating.
  • Pain during bowel movements.
  • Fever symptoms like nausea, chills, loss of appetite, weakness, and fatigue.

Complications Caused By Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

A number of serious complications have been linked to pelvic inflammatory disorder:

  • Infertility

As I above, PID can also cause infertility (inability to get pregnant) and ectopic pregnancies, which are pregnancies that occur outside the womb (uterus).

The longer, or more times, you’ve had PID, the higher risk you have of dealing with infertility.

  • Ectopic pregnancy

When an ectopic pregnancy occurs, the symptoms can be very similar to those associated with pelvic inflammatory disease, although usually, they are more intense.

An ectopic pregnancy is a very serious problem that can be life-threatening. So it requires urgent care to prevent bleeding and other complications.

  • Formation of Scar tissue in the fallopian tube

Scar tissue forms on the inside or outside of the fallopian tubes.

Scar tissue causes a tubal blockage, which prevents an egg from traveling down a woman’s tubes normally.

Damage can sometimes be irreversible, but usually, this only occurs if the disease was left untreated for a long time.

  • Abscesses

Infected fluid may also form abscesses in the fallopian tubes.

  • Long-term pelvic/abdominal pain can make sex painful and unenjoyable.
  • Higher risk for pregnancy and birth-related complications.

Causes of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Untreated sexually transmitted diseases, especially gonorrhea, and chlamydia, are by far the most common cause of PID.

But many different types of bacteria can contribute to PID.

Some of which may proliferate inside a woman’s reproductive system following intercourse (even if no STD was transmitted) or after pregnancy, childbirth, miscarriage, or abortion.

Some of the bacteria that have been found to cause pelvic inflammatory disease include:

  • Chlamydia trachomatis

This bacteria is currently considered the most significant pathogen associated with PID since about 8–10 of women with Chlamydia trachomatis infection will develop PID if not treated.

Chlamydia has also been detected in up to 60 percent of women with infertility/reproductive problems including;

  • salpingitis or endometritis.
  • Neisseria gonorrhea
  • Mycoplasma genitalium
  • Vaginosis-associated microorganisms, especially anaerobes.

Although it’s rare, even “ordinary” bacterial infections like vaginosis can progress to PID.

Risk Factors that are Associated with a Higher Chance of Developing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease include:

  • Being a woman between the ages of 25–35.
  • Having unprotected sex.
  • A history of PID and other types of vaginal bacterial infections.
  • Having more than one sexual partner, which increases the risk for all types of STDs.

This is especially risky when you have a sex partner who has many other sex partners.

  • Frequently douching, which can alter the delicate balance of flora (protective bacteria) found inside the vagina.
  • Using an intrauterine device (IUD) as a method of birth control, especially within the first three weeks after the IUD is inserted.
  • Having a history of vaginosis
  •  Frequent UTIs, or other types of vaginal infections due to things like pregnancy, childbirth, miscarriage or an abortion.

Because PID is most commonly caused by an untreated sexually transmitted disease (STD), it’s important to be aware of the symptoms of STDs like gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Chlamydia is a common type of STD that affects both men and women and is transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

It’s common for chlamydia to not cause any noticeable symptoms. But this doesn’t protect the reproductive system from scarring and more serious infections.

STDs that can cause PID have similar signs and symptoms to PID itself.

Some of the STD symptoms to look for include:

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge, which sometimes has a fishy vaginal odor.
  • Burning sensations when urinating or having bowel movements.
  • Discharge from the penis, along with burning sensations.
  • Pain and swelling in one or both testicles.
  • In some cases rectal pain, bleeding, and discharge.

Conventional Treatments for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Studies indicate that in the United States alone there are at least an estimated 1.2 million medical visits each year related to PID.

Pelvic inflammatory disease commonly is treated with one or more prescription antibiotics, which help to clear the infection.

Research reveals that between 1992 and 2006, 5 randomized clinical studies of moxifloxacin, ofloxacin, clindamycin-ciprofloxacin, and azithromycin, treatment among women with mild to moderate PID were found to have clinical cure rates of 90%–97%.

Studies of ofloxacin and clindamycin-ciprofloxacin reported rates of cure of Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis infection of 100%.

One azithromycin trial reported a 98% eradication of Chlymidia trachomatis, N. gonorrhea, Mycoplasma hominis, and anaerobes.

Moxifloxacin exhibited high eradication rates for N. gonorrhoeae, C. trachomatis, M. hominis, Mycobacterium genitalium, and gram-negative anaerobes.

Clinical cure rates from 2 doxycycline-metronidazole trials were low (35% and 55%).

Most women being treated for PID won’t require a hospital stay or any time of intensive care.

However, women who are at a greater risk for complications sometimes will.

If a woman is pregnant, does not get better after taking medications, has a high level of inflammation in the fallopian tubes, or becomes very ill, then she may need to stay in the hospital in order to be monitored and receive intravenous antibiotics.

In rare and severe cases, surgery might be needed to remove scarring, damaged tissue, or abscesses that may rupture within the genital tract.

PID is considered a type of sexually transmitted disease, which means that male or female sexual partners of women with PID should also visit a doctor for treatment.

It’s important that both partners finish their treatment protocol before having any kind of sex.

This way they don’t wind up re-infecting each other. Both partners will need to be treated whether they have symptoms or not.

Sometimes symptoms of an infection will go away before the infection is totally cleared.

But you and your partner should still take the full dose of medications prescribed to you regardless of whether you’re feeling better or not.

Be aware that while PID is usually treatable, it can still return at a later time.

In fact, if you have had PID before, you have a higher chance of developing it a second time.

Becoming infected with an STD again can cause the infection to re-spread. This is why safe sex is important for prevention long-term.

Related: 10 Facts about Fertility Drugs you don’t Know

Related: Can Men Infertility be Prevented?

Natural Ways to Prevent Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

1. Practice safe sex.

2. Screen early for STDs and treat PID right away.

3. Prevent vaginal infections by using only plain water to wash your private parts including the anus.

4. Moderately eat probiotics and prebiotics, and boost your immunity with whole-natural food.

5. Don’t douche.

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1. Practice Safe Sex

One of the vital ways to prevent the transmission of STDs is to have only one long-term, mutually monogamous sexual partner (both of you should be faithful to each other).

If you do choose to have sex with multiple partners, then be sure to wear a condom every time.

Even if you are in a monogamous relationship, if you and your partner are being treated for PID, then abstain from sex until you’re both fully recovered.

2. Screen Early for STDs and Treat PID Right Away

Medical experts recommend that people under the age of 25 who are sexually active get tested for chlamydia every year.

Women who have more than one sexual partner throughout the year should visit a gynecologist for a pap smear in order to catch any STDs in their early stages.

If you are diagnosed with an STD or PID, then getting treated right away lowers your risk of developing long-term complications.

In other words, the longer you wait to get tested and treated for STDs, the more likely it is that you develop permanent damage to your reproductive system.

Pregnant and nursing women need to be especially cautious about being treated early. STDs, and even vaginosis, can lead to complications in a developing fetus.

If you’re breastfeeding, talk to your doctor as well, since this will have an impact on the medication/treatments that are safe for you to use to clear the infection.

3. Prevent Vaginosis & Other Common Infections

Vaginosis usually will not lead to complications like PID, but it is possible. Keep in mind that if you’ve had vaginosis in the past, it’s common for the infection to reoccur within three to 12 months.

Some of the ways you can help prevent infections from developing or recurring include:

  • Stop! using any form of soap including the so-called mild soap and detergent to wash your vagina, and anus. I was a victim in this one so I can tell you from experience.

Washing your vagina with commercial (usually alkaline) soaps can cause skin irritation, imbalances in pH and the protective microflora (friendly bacteria that protect the vagina), and increased vaginal discharge and itching.

This may have caused 50 percent of candidiasis and other vagina irritation.

If you have a penis, using perform or any scent under there will affect your partner who has a vagina.

Because if you penetrate the vagina with the body contaminated with any scent or perform, it will definitely alter the normal pH of the vagina. And that will result in vagina itching and irritation.

Please do not allow product marketers and manufacturers to deceive you. Those parts of your body don’t need soap or detergent for any reason. The vagina has a natural way of cleaning itself from the inside.

  • Use only plain water to wash in and out of your vagina, and anus as often as you can. And don’t apply your body cream under there either.
  • Stop adding any antiseptics such as detail, etc in your bathing water because you are going to use the same water to wash your vagina and anus.

If you have a penis you may use mild soap under there because men’s are closed unlike that of women, however, be sure not to use any scent or cream under there if you’re going to meet your partner.

If you like to have oral sex with your partner, you both should always brush your mouth before going down there.

Because when you eat or drink, your mouth and tongue are contaminated with food particles, and if you put that tongue inside the vagina you have automatically contaminated the vagina.

Your partner may end up having vagina irritation that may lead to candidiasis.

  • Stop using tissue paper or a wiper to clean your anus or vagina after defecating or urination. Design a way of washing your anus thoroughly with only plain water each time you visit the toilet.

If you have a vagina, after urinating, wear your pants like that, don’t clean with anything, and when you come back home wash thoroughly with only plain water.

  • Avoid using any feminine deodorant sprays, perfumed or dyed products near your vagina (such as lubricants or scented tampons/pads), or the inside, or if you already have any type of irritation.
  • Avoid washing your underwear in any strong detergents with perfumes and other chemicals that can rub off your skin.

If you do wash your underwear with strong scented detergent or soap, rinse thoroughly with plain water.

Don’t wet your underwear for long.

  • Change your sanitary pad/tampons; If you’re using tampons during your period, then stick with unscented, ideally organic, tampons or pads that don’t contain any harsh chemicals, dyes, or perfumes.

Also, avoid bacterial overgrowth by changing tampons/pads at least three times daily (at least every 6–8 hours).

4. Boost your overall immunity; having a strong immune system won’t protect you from acquiring an STD.

But it may help to prevent recurring infections like vaginosis and decrease the risk of complications.

Some of the ways you can protect against infections include:

Eating a healthy diet; taking probiotics and eating prebiotic foods (probiotics including lactobacillus increase the number of “good bacteria” in the vagina and re-establish a balanced microflora).

Addressing allergies, nutrient deficiencies, diabetes, and digestive problems; exercising, sleeping enough, and avoiding medications that may contribute to infections.

5. Don’t Douche

Because douching disrupts the normal bacterial balance inside the vagina, it’s a risk factor for developing infections.

Some women might think that douching will help to get rid of an infection that’s already forming or help reduce symptoms caused by an STD.

But this is not true. Douching does not actually help to cleanse the vagina. And it can actually make an infection worse by removing beneficial bacteria that are there to protect against harmful bacteria.

Take Precautions When Treating Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

If you experience any of the signs and symptoms of an STD mentioned above (abdominal pains, painful sex, burning when peeing, irregular periods, etc.).

Then head to your doctor for an examination as soon as you can. Your partner should also be examined by a doctor, or you should let any recent partners know about your diagnosis.

You should head to the emergency room if you experience any of these severe PID-related symptoms: severe pain in your lower abdomen, nausea and vomiting, high fever (temps above 101 F or 38.3 C), and foul vaginal discharge.


Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a type of bacterial infection that affects some women’s reproductive systems.

Untreated sexually transmitted diseases, especially gonorrhea, and chlamydia, are by far the most common cause of PID.

  • Lower abdominal pain, which can be felt on only one side or both sides.
  • Tenderness and sensitivity around the genital area.
  • Painful sex, sometimes leads to bleeding during or after intercourse.
  • Irregular periods.
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge, including discharge that appears yellow or green (a sign of infection).
  • Burning sensations when urinating.
  • Pain during bowel movements.
  • Fever

Major complications that may occur include:

  • Infertility
  • Ectopic pregnancy

Different types of antibiotics are conventionally available to treat mild to moderate PID, However, they can only be taken on a doctor’s prescription.

The best Natural Ways to Help Prevent Pelvic Inflammatory Disease include:

  • Practice safe sex.
  • Screen early for STDs and treat PID right away.
  • Prevent vaginal infections by using only plain water to wash your private parts including the anus.
  • Moderately eat probiotics and prebiotics, and boost your immunity with whole-natural food.
  • Don’t douche.

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