Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

PID is a common condition.

Pelvic inflammatory disease mostly affects sexually active women.

Often does not cause any obvious symptoms, in few women can cause severe pelvic pain, high temperature and infertility.


Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the female upper genital tract, including the womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries.


Most cases of pelvic inflammatory disease are caused by a bacterial infection that is spread from the vagina or the cervix to the reproductive organs higher up. In about 1 in 4 cases, it is caused by a sexually transmitted infection such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea.


It is a common condition, although it is not clear how many women are affected in the UK. It can occur at any age in sexually active women. It is most common among young women (aged 15 to 24).


There is no simple test to diagnose PID. Diagnosis is based on your symptoms and the finding of tenderness on the vaginal examination. We may request analysis of vaginal discharge, urine test and pelvic ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis and to determine how widespread the infection is. It can be treated with a course of antibiotics, which usually lasts for 14 days. Surgery is rarely necessary. However, if an abscess ruptures, you also might need surgery if you do not respond to antibiotic treatment.