Pelvic Inflammatory Disease


Around 1 in 8 women with a history of PID experience difficulties getting pregnant.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection or inflammation in the female genital tract or the reproductive organs that help you get pregnant and have a baby.

Organs that are affected by PID include:

  • Uterus
  • Ovaries
  • Fallopian tubes
  • Cervix

In most cases, PID is caused by a bacterial infection spreading from the vagina or cervix into the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Signs and Symptoms of PID include:

  • Severe pain in the abdomen (pain around the pelvis or lower tummy)
  • High temperature (fever)
  • Pain or discomfort during sex that’s felt deep inside the pelvis
  • Painful urination with a burning sensation
  • Irregular bleeding between periods and after sex
  • Increased or foul-smelling vaginal discharge, especially if it’s yellow, green or smelly

PID is usually caused due to

  1. Sexually transmitted diseases: Different types of bacteria cause PID. The most common bacteria that cause PID are through sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea or mycoplasma genitalium.
  2. Childbirth or miscarriage: If there’s damage to the cervix following childbirth or a miscarriage, there are high chances of infection
  3. Pelvic procedures or abortion or insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD): Any procedure that involves opening the cervix (such as abortion, an inspection of the womb, or insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD) may lead to an infection causing PID.

Who’s most at risk?

You are more likely to get a PID if you:

  • Have more than one sexual partner
  • Have a history of STIs
  • Having unprotected sex
  • Have had PID in the past
  • Started having sex at a young age (under 25)
  • Had a miscarriage or abortion or had an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted

There’s no particular test to diagnose pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Your doctor may diagnose PID based on your symptoms and a gynecological examination.

Your doctor may ask about your sexual and medical history, followed by a pelvic examination to check for tenderness or abnormal vaginal discharge.

Tests that support a diagnosis of PID include:

  • A swab test (taken from the vagina or cervix) sent to identify bacterial growth
  • A urine or blood test to check for infection
  • A pregnancy test
  • An ultrasound scan is usually carried out using a probe passed into the vagina (transvaginal ultrasound)

Sometimes, a laparoscopy (keyhole surgery) may be used to diagnose PID.