Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (cont.)

What causes pelvic inflammatory disease?

A woman can get PID if bacteria (germs) move up from her vagina and infect her pelvic organs. Many different types of bacteria can cause PID. But, most cases of PID are caused by bacteria that cause 2 common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) — gonorrhea (gah-nuh-REE-uh) and chlamydia (kluh-MI-dee-uh). It can take from a few days to a few months for an infection to travel up from the vagina to the pelvic organs.

You can get PID without having an STI. Normal bacteria found in the vagina and on the cervix can sometimes cause PID. No one is sure why this happens.

Picture of a woman's reproductive organs
Picture of a woman's reproductive organs

How common is pelvic inflammatory disease?

Each year in the United States, more than 1 million women have an episode of PID. More than 100,000 women become infertile each year because of PID. Also, many ectopic pregnancies that occur are due to problems from PID.

Are some women more likely to get pelvic inflammatory disease?

Comment on this

Yes. You're more likely to get pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) if you:

  • Have had an STI
  • Are under 25 years of age and are having sex
  • Have more than one sex partner
  • Douche. Douching can push bacteria into the pelvic organs and cause infection. It can also hide the signs of an infection.
  • Have an intrauterine device (IUD). You should get tested and treated for any infections before getting an IUD. This will lower your risk of getting pelvic inflammatory disease.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/16/2012

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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease - Symptoms Question: Please describe your symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease - Treatments Question: What treatment has been effective for your pelvic inflammatory disease?
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease - Risks Question: If you had pelvic inflammatory disease, did you have any behavior or lifestyle choices that put you at risk?
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease - Diagnosis Question: Please discuss the tests and procedures that led to a diagnosis of pelvic inflammatory disease.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease - Infertility Question: Was your infertility caused by pelvic inflammatory disease? Please share your story.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease - Experience Question: Please share your experience with PID.

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