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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and Infertility

Q: My doctor said that my infertility problems may be related to my having PID without knowing it in the past.  What is PID?

Dr. Donnica:
PID, or pelvic inflammatory disease, is an infection of the internal reproductive tract, usually caused by invasion of either gonorrhea or chlamydia from the cervix up to the uterus and tubes. While the infection causes an intense inflammatory response, usually with pain and other symptoms, it is possible to have had chlamydial PID without knowing it.

Bacteria, white blood cells and other fluids (pus) fill the tubes as the body fights the infection. Eventually, the bacteria are controlled and destroyed, ideally after treatment with antibiotics. During this process the delicate inner lining of the tubes (tubal mucosa) is permanently scarred. The end of the tube by the ovaries may become partially or completely blocked, and scar tissue can form on the outside of the tubes and ovaries. All of these factors can impair ovarian or tubal function, which contributes to infertility. When PID is treated early and aggressively with antibiotics, the tubal damage may be minimized and fertility can be maintained.

Created: 9/15/2002  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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