Women's Health Matters

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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an acute infection in the organs of the pelvis. It can affect the uterus, fallopian tubes and/or ovaries. Canadian statistics suggest that one in 10 women will have at least one episode of PID. Seventy-five percent of cases occur in women under 25 years of age.

Most cases of PID are caused by the sexually transmitted infections chlamydia and gonorrhea. PID can cause serious, even life-threatening, illness and needs to be treated immediately. Prompt treatment will also reduce the likelihood of long-term consequences, which can include infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain.

PID can cause severe pain and other symptoms; however, some women do not experience any pain at all and may never know of their infection unless long-term consequences develop. The most common symptoms of PID are:

  • aches or cramping in the lower abdomen
  • fever and chills
  • abnormal uterine bleeding
  • abnormal discharge with pain

PID symptoms often start at the end of your period. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. If your symptoms are severe, go to a hospital emergency room.


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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Medical Description





  • A publication of:
  • Women's College Hospital