Do You Have Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Symptoms?

What You Need to Know About PID Signs and Symptoms

Do you feel miserable during your periods? Do you have really bad cramps or even flu-like symptoms? It could be PID. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) symptoms vary from case to case. There are three ways that PID symptoms can present: acutely, chronically, or silently.

With acute PID, symptoms may be severe and intense. They are the kind of symptoms that can send you to an emergency room, and possibly require hospitalization.

If you have chronic PID, your symptoms may be barely noticeable or vague. Diagnosis may be delayed and difficult.

With silent PID, you may not experience any signs or symptoms. You may only discover you have PID after trying to conceive unsuccessfully.

The symptoms of PID may also be confused with other diseases, including endometriosis or appendicitis.

Keep this in mind as you read through the list below. Having mild or no symptoms does not rule out PID, so be sure to speak to your doctor if you're concerned.

Note: If you're experiencing severe symptoms, you should go to the emergency room. Severe symptoms may include:

  • severe pain in your lower abdomen
  • signs of shock (like feeling faint)
  • vomiting
  • fever over 101 F

Untreated PID can be deadly. If you have any doubts, call your doctor or proceed to the hospital emergency room.

Pain in the Lower Abdomen

woman with abdominal pain, from pelvic inflammatory disease symptoms
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This is the most common symptom of pelvic inflammatory disease. The pain may be a dull pressure or a more intense cramping pain.

In chronic PID, the pain may be mild but present all the time. The cramping during your menstrual cycle may be more intense, enough that it interferes with your regular life.

In acute PID, the pain may be so bad hat you cannot stand up. If you experience severe pain, contact your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room.

Pelvic Pain During Intercourse

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Pain during intercourse is not normal. Some women may feel embarrassed to mention sexual pain to their doctor, worrying that it's psychological and not physical.

Pelvic pain during sex is a common symptom of PID. That said, painful sex can also be caused by other conditions and diseases.

You should tell your doctor, so you can get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

Lower Back Pain

Woman holding her back, having lower back pain from PID
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Mild, lower back pain around the time of your period can be normal. But if you experience the pain throughout your cycle, or the pain is especially intense during menstruation, you should mention this to your doctor.

It's also possible to experience back pain around the kidneys or liver. If this happens, let your doctor know right away, especially if you have other symptoms.

Irregular Menstrual Bleeding

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Bleeding that is heavier than normal or spotting between cycles can be a symptom of PID.

If you are bleeding so heavily that you need to change your menstrual pad every hour for more than two or three hours, call your doctor immediately.

Unusual Vaginal Discharge

Close up of sanitary napkins, needed for discharge during PID
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Vaginal discharge that is especially heavy, has an unpleasant or fishy odor, or unusual color may indicate an infection. It may possibly be pelvic inflammatory disease. The odor may be worse after sexual intercourse.

Because an untreated vaginal infection can later lead to PID, it's important you see your doctor and get treated as soon as possible.

Unusual Urinary Discharge or Problems With Urination

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PID may lead to unusual discharge from the urethra. Frequent urination, burning during urination, and difficult urinating can be symptoms of PID.

If you experience repeated urinary tract infections, PID or bacteria associated with PID may be a possible cause.

Flu-Like Symptoms

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Pelvic inflammatory disease may lead to flu-like symptoms, including fatigue, chills, low grade or high fever, weakness, swollen lymph nodes, and a general feeling of unease.

Stomach Upset, Including Diarrhea and Vomiting

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You may experience a lack of appetite, as well as vomiting or diarrhea.

If vomiting is especially severe or persistent, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Infertility

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About 10 to 15% of women with PID become infertile.

Even if you've already been treated for pelvic inflammatory disease, or you've received treatment for a sexually transmitted disease, it's still possible to experience infertility.

Antibiotic treatment only targets the infection. It cannot undo the damage to your fallopian tubes.

Some women will only discover they have PID after testing for infertility.

What If You Have No Symptoms?

woman looking concerned, worried about her fertility
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It is not uncommon for PID to be silent, meaning there are no outward signs or symptoms.

You may only discover you have PID after being diagnosed with infertility. PID is a common cause of blocked fallopian tubes.

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease that can lead to PID. While about 1 million women are diagnosed with it each year, half of those women say they never experienced any symptoms.

If you suspect you may have contracted or been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease, or your partner has been diagnosed with one, speak to your doctor. Do this even if you have not experienced symptoms.

When to See Your Doctor

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You should speak to your doctor and get an evaluation if you have any worrisome symptoms.

The longer PID goes untreated, the more likely you are to experience damage to your reproductive organs. Don't delay.

If you have been trying to conceive for more than a year, even if you have no other infertility risk factors or symptoms, you should speak to your doctor.

If you experience acute PID symptoms, like high fever, vomiting, fainting, or severe pain, you should call your doctor immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.

PID is a serious and potentially deadly disease. Do not ignore it.

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