PID is a health problem that women can get.

PID stands for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. PID is caused by bacteria. These bacteria infect a woman’s fallopian tubes and makes them inflamed (swollen). The bacteria can also infect her womb or ovaries. Two types of bacteria that cause PID are gonorrhoea and chlamydia. You can get gonorrhoea and chlamydia through having sex. More unusually PID is caused by other bacteria that live in the vagina and are not sexually transmitted. PID can be treated with a course of antibiotics. It’s important to get treatment as quickly as possible.

If it is not treated PID can damage your fallopian tubes and possibly make you infertile (unable to get pregnant).

It can also cause ectopic pregnancy (when the egg grows outside the womb).

Symptoms

If you have PID Women can have PID and not know it, especially as there are different signs and symptoms.

Some of the most common symptoms of PID are:

  • pain in your belly, which can be very severe
  • feeling sick and being sick an unusual discharge from your vagina
  • irregular bleeding between periods
  • pain during sex
  • feeling very tired
  • a high temperature

You can get all or none of these signs or symptoms if you have PID.

How do you get PID?

  • You can get PID through getting chlamydia and gonorrhoea. These are sexually transmitted infections.
  • You can get chlamydia or gonorrhoea through having sex with someone who already has chlamydia or gonorrhoea.
  • You can catch it by having unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex (sex without a condom).

More unusually, chlamydia or gonorrhoea can be passed on during sex on fingers when they move from one person’s genitals (the penis or vagina) to the other person’s genitals. There are other leaflets like this one that can tell you more about chlamydia and gonorrhoea.

How do you protect yourself against PID?

Using a condom is the best way to protect yourself from getting the sexually transmitted infections that can give you PID.

When you use a condom remember to:

  • not use a condom that is past its ‘use by’ date, which is written on the packet
  • only use condoms that have this on the side
  • use a new condom each time you have sex
  • put a condom on before your genitals (penis and vagina) touch

Sexual health clinics are confidential, so staff cannot tell anyone you have visited the clinic without your permission unless they believe you or someone else is in serious danger. Try telling your boyfriend or girlfriend if you think you have PID. If you do have PID it’s very important you tell them so you both get checked out in case you both have a sexually transmitted infection. Usually your partner will need treatment too so that you don’t get the infection back again when you have sex.

Condoms come in all shapes and sizes, so find the best one for you. You can get infected with gonorrhoea and chlamydia again, so using a condom will help stop this happening.

You can get more than one sexually transmitted infection at the same time.

Condoms can protect you from most sexually transmitted infections and help avoid pregnancy.

If you think you have PID You can go to sexual health clinic for a check up. You can ring for an appointment or sometimes drop in. At the clinic they will examine you. If you have PID you will be given a course of antibiotics and will need to rest.

For name and addresses of sexual health clinics you can call: Sexwise 0800 28 29 30 Sexual Health Information Line 0800 567 123 NHS Direct 0845 4647

Or check out the websites: www.ruthinking.co.uk or www.playingsafely.co.uk