Diagnosing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
The reproductive organs of the female body include the uterus, fallopian tubes and the ovaries. When these become inflamed it is called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).This inflammation is caused by an infection in the vagina tracking up through the cervix into the pelvic tissues.
It can be caused by many types of infections but normally stems from the sexually transmitted infections gonorrhoea and Chlamydia.It may affect only one area or can involve inflammation of all of these organs.
Symptoms of Pelvic Inflammatory DiseaseMany people will live with pelvic inflammatory disease with no obvious symptoms until the inflammation is fairly advanced.Symptoms can include vagina discharge, pain and discomfort particularly during sex in the genital area or in the abdomen, intermittent bleeding, high temperature and nausea.
Why Is It Important To Diagnose PID?If undiagnosed and left untreated pelvic inflammatory disease can cause many problems. The inflammation can spread and eventually include all of the pelvic reproductive organs. As the inflammation develops abscesses can occur and the tissues can also become very swollen.This can cause a lot of pain, particularly during sex, when urinating or even when emptying the bowel.
The long term consequences can mean a higher risk of an ectopic pregnancy as the fallopian tubes become so swollen that they are occluded, recurrent infections and infertility.
How Is PID Diagnosed?For those who display no symptoms of the disease, a diagnosis may not be made until an investigation into other problems has been carried out. This is often when problems conceiving arise.
In order to make an accurate diagnosis your doctor or sexual health specialist will probably want to examine your genital area and take some swabs to determine the type of bacteria and infection you have.
It may be advisable to bring a friend or relative with you to the appointment, If you would like a female staff member to carry out the examination please request this when you make your appointment so adequate provision can be made or your appointment scheduled to facilitate this.
Some people may also have a blood test taken to try and determine the cause or may be referred for further tests such as a scan to try and see inside the pelvis.For many, the best way to make an accurate diagnosis is to undergo a diagnostic laparoscopy. This procedure will require you to receive a general anaesthetic (usually as a day patient) and a small camera inserted into your abdomen enabling the surgical team to gain a clear visualisation of your internal organs.
You will usually have the camera inserted just next to your navel, and if other instruments are needed, another incision will be made elsewhere in the abdomen.Occasionally a small specimen of fluid or tissue will be taken, and if necessary any adhesions may be lessened.
Adhesions occur when the tissues of the pelvis or abdomen become stuck or joined together. Often there are bands of tissue that connect the organs together that can cause the pain. These can be decreases using a cutting device and electrical current to stop bleeding.
It is vital that anyone thought to have pelvic inflammatory disease protects others from contracting any infections by demonstrating protected sex and uses condoms.
Pelvic inflammatory disease is a condition that affects the reproductive organs. It can cause pain and other long term problems if not diagnosed and treated early enough.