You can have PID and not have any symptoms. For example, chlamydia can cause PID with no symptoms. Women who have an ectopic pregnancy or who are infertile often have PID caused by chlamydia. An ectopic pregnancy is when an egg grows outside of the uterus. It puts the mother's life in danger.
Exams and Tests
Your health care provider may do a pelvic exam to look for:
Bleeding from your cervix. The cervix is the opening to your uterus.
Fluid coming out of your cervix
Pain when your cervix is touched
Tenderness in your uterus, tubes, or ovaries
You may have lab tests to check for signs of infection:
Your doctor will often have you start taking antibiotics while waiting for your test results.
If you have mild PID:
Your health care provider will give you a shot containing an antibiotic.
You will be sent home with antibiotic pills to take for up to 2 weeks.
You will need to follow up closely with your health care provider.
If you have more severe PID:
You may need to stay in the hospital.
You may be given antibiotics through a vein (IV).
Later, you may be given antibiotic pills to take by mouth.
There are many different antibiotics that can treat PID. Some are safe for pregnant women. Which type you take depends on the cause of the infection. You may receive a different treatment if you have gonorrhea or chlamydia.
If your PID is caused by an STI like gonorrhea or chlamydia, your sexual partner must be treated as well.
If you have more than one sexual partner, they must all be treated.
If your partner is not treated, he or she can infect you again, or can infect other people in the future.
Both you and your partner must finish taking all of your antibiotics.
Use condoms until you both have finished taking antibiotics.
PID infections can cause scarring of the pelvic organs. This can lead t:
Meyers D, Wolff T, Gregory K, et al. USPSTF recommendations for STI screening. Am Fam Physician. 2008;77:819-824.
Workowski KA, Berman S; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2010. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2010;59(RR-12):1-110.
Cynthia D. White, MD, Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Group Health Cooperative, Bellevue, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.