PID can cause infertility

PID can cause infertility

Other than POS, PCOS etc, another new name intruding into the field of STD infertility is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). It is the next complicated stage of sexually transmitted disease. PID refers to infection of the womb, fallopian tubes (tubes that carry eggs from the ovaries to the womb) and other reproductive organs, leading to infertility quandaries.

Pelvic inflammatory disease develops when microorganisms, like bacteria infect female reproductive organs. Normally, the cervix acts as a barrier to prevent the entry of disease-causing microorganisms into the inner reproductive organs. During certain disease conditions, the cervix gets tainted facilitating the entry of microorganisms to the other parts, which might lead to PID.

Causes

Although there are diverse grounds for being troubled by the disease, you can get PID through several ways. The most common cause is having sex with a person infected with chlamydia (A sexually transmitted disease caused by an organism called chlamydia trachomitis).

Other than that, those women who choose to have multiple sex partners and the ones who are in the right age range of conceiving are also at risk. Women under the age of 25 are also more likely to develop PID than those older than 25. This is because the cervix of girls below 25 is not fully prepared to fight sexually transmitted disease which later results into PID.

PID mostly affects sexually active women between the ages of 15 and 24.
Most cases of PID are caused by an infection that has spread from the vagina or the neck of the womb (cervix) to the reproductive organs higher up.

Many different types of bacteria can cause PID, but most cases are the result of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea.

This means that the most effective way of preventing PID is to protect you against STIs by using a barrier method of contraception such as a male or female condom, and to get regular sexual health check-ups.

Symptoms can include, vaginal irritation, vaginal discharge, lower abdominal pain, intermenstrual bleeding, fever, vomiting, bleeding after sexual intercourse. Some patients are asymptomatic.

When ignored the bacteria multiplies and spreads to other organs like the uterus through the cervix and from there to the fallopian tubes where it makes scar tissues to ovaries, bladder, wall of pelvis and other reproductive organs.

PID can lead to serious consequences including infertility, or pregnancy in the fallopian tube or elsewhere outside of the womb, sore formation, and chronic pelvic pain. Early detection can prevent severe outcomes.

One woman in five women who have PID becomes infertile as a result. However, most women are able to get pregnant without problems after a single episode of PID.

Precautionary measures

- Get treated immediately if you find you are infected with STD
- Practice safe sex, using superior quality latex condoms which can reduce the risk of STD
- Regular testing for: Sexually active women who are 25 or younger; Older women who have a new sex partner or multiple sex partners; All pregnant women should be tested regularly

Any genital symptoms such as an unusual sore, discharge with odour, burning sensation during urination, or bleeding between menstrual cycles could mean STI. In such a scenario abstain from having sex and consult a gynecologist.

(The writer is a gynaecologist and, infertility specialist at Ridge IVF Bensups Hospital, New Delhi.)

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