STD Information: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)


Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. PID is caused by many kinds of bacteria, but chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most common causes.  It can also occur after childbirth, abortion, or surgery on the female organs. The infection usually starts 2 to 21 days after having sex with an infected person, but some infections do not start until several months later. PID can cause scar tissue that can block fallopian tubes causing infertility (after 1 PID infection 10% of women become infertile; 75% are infertile after 3 infections), tubal pregnancies (a woman is 7 times more likely to have a tubal pregnancy after PID), and abscesses. Some women continue to have lower abdominal pain for several months after PID.

  • Symptoms: Mild to severe abdominal pain, back pain, may have fever, nausea, bleeding between periods, pain with sex, vaginal discharge. Some women have no symptoms.
  • WTW Transmission: Transmission of the bacteria that cause PID is theoretically possible though not studied.  A recent report did discuss PID occurring in two lesbians, in whom the diagnosis was initially missed because they were thought to be at 'low risk' for STD.
  • Treatment: Mild PID is treated with a shot of antibiotics in addition to oral antibiotics. Severe PID is treated in the hospital with IV antibiotics.  Routine treatment of sex partners.

Please note that for the purpose of our web site we are focusing primarily on woman to woman transmission (WTW) and only providing a general overview of the infections themselves. You may want to check out our Bibliography and Links sections for more in depth information or contact us with specific questions through STD Q&A's.