Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

What is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?

Pelvic Inflamatory Disease also called Salpingitis (infection of the tubes), is sometimes used to include various infections of the genital tract in women. It has become more common in recent years, and is probably aggravated by use of the pill; none use of barrier contraception (particularly the condom); greater sexual freedom and the prevalent habit of having a variety of sexual partners. It is more common in women under the age of twenty-five years who are sexually active. It is readily transmitted by sexual intercourse, occasionally by childbirth and now less commonly by use of the Tampon. There are many causes, as any organism reaching the inner tubes with the opportunity to multiply may be at fault. Gonorrhea was once the major cause, but recently Chlamydia, Mycloplasma, viruses, gram-negative bacilli and gram-positive cocci are being implicated more frequently. A wide range of organisms have been involved, including worms, the TB germ, leprosy along with foreign objects that may have reached the tubes.

Pelvic Inflamatory Disease Symptoms

These may be acute or long standing, depending on the duration of infection. In acute bouts, symptoms come on rapidly after a menstrual period, with severe lower abdominal pains, “rebound tenderness,” and general tenderness that gradually increases. There may be a high fever, vomiting, vaginal discharges, and the patient looks and feels very ill. This may settle down, but recur intermittently as the condition becomes chronic. Sometimes abscesses occur in the pelvis, and these may produce severe pain, fevers and become a surgical emergency as the tubes fill with pus. Inflammation and destruction of the tubes and infertility commonly follow.

Pelvic Inflamatory Disease Treatment

This depends on the causative organism. Once this has been determined, the appropriate antibiotics are prescribed and given in large doses until the patient responds favorably. Penicillin (usually the newer broad-spectrum variation) is often given with Probenecid, although various other antibiotics are also administered. Once more, each patient is treated individually and according to the cause of the disorder. As these problematical disorders are much more common in women with multiple sexual partners the concept of one partner is also recommended. With the prevalence of AIDS, a devastating disease for which there is no cure, this becomes more important.