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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Nearly 1 million women in the US alone suffer from pelvic inflammatory disease or PID each year; PID is an infection in the reproductive organs of a woman. It is essential to treat the symptoms of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease immediately when noticed. Failure to do so may lead to complications such as infertility and even can be life threatening. Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) such as chlamydia or gonorrhea are often the cause for pelvic inflammatory disease. Women who have multiple sexual partners or partners with symptoms of chlamydia or gonorrhea infections are at a higher risk for PID. Some forms of contraception such as IUDs may put a woman at increased risk of PID. Surgical procedures such as D and C (Dilation and Curettage), insertion of IUD or treatment of an abnormal Pap smear can lead to pelvic inflammatory. Usually the cervix prevents the spread of bacteria into the internal organs. But when the cervix gets infected with an STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease), disease-causing bacteria travel up the internal organs and damage the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and abdomen. Bacteria present in the vagina and cervix can also have a precipitating effect on the Pelvic Inflammation. Usually multiple organisms are responsible for a bout of PID. Spreading of the infection can lead to further inflammation and scarring.


Women suffering from PID experience high fever and chills. Dull pain in the lower abdomen and lower back are typical symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease. A woman suffering from pelvic inflammatory disease may also experience fever and irregular menstrual bleeding. Other symptoms of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease are pain during intercourse and urination. Some women do not experience any symptoms at all. Laboratory tests for chlamydia, gonorrhea and urinary tract infection are conducted on a patient who might be suffering from PID. A pelvic ultrasound helps in looking for any abnormalities in the pelvic area or fallopian tubes. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease can also be diagnosed with falloposcopy - a visual study of the inside of the fallopian tubes.


Treatment for pelvic inflammatory disease is based on pelvic examination and examination of the woman's sexual and menstrual history. Antibiotic therapy of Floxin is used as oral medication for PID. This is the first FDA approved oral therapy for PID. Other drugs used in combination for treatment of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease are Cefoxitin, Oflaxocin, Clindamycin. If left untreated, pelvic inflammatory disease can lead to severe and permanent damage of the reproductive organs.

Menorrhagia

Menorrhagia refers to excessive loss of blood during menstruation. Many pre-menopausal women experience menorrhagia as a response to erratic hormonal activity. The endometrium may develop in excess due to hormonal imbalance and lead to heavy menstrual bleeding. Uterine polyps can lead to cases of menorrhagia. Polyps occur due to excessive hormone production or consumption.


Uterine fibroids or tumors can trigger off heavier than normal menstrual bleeding or prolonged menstrual bleeding. Women suffering from pelvic Inflammatory disease, thyroid problems and liver or kidney disease are also likely to notice excessive bleeding. In rare cases, menorrhagia is caused due to deficiency of vitamin K. Women who use IUD for birth control are likely to face excessive menstrual bleeding. Cancers of the female reproductive organs such as cervix cancer, ovarian cancer and uterine cancer cause excessive bleeding.


Endometrial sampling is taken to check for cause of menorrhagia. Hysteroscopy and vaginal ultrasound aids in clinical diagnosis. Once the cause for excessive bleeding is identified, treatment is undertaken accordingly. Thyroid malfunction is treated with medication or birth control pills. Hysterectomy is performed for women who suffer prolonged heavy menstrual bleeding.

Tubal Pregnancy

Tubal pregnancy is also known as ectopic pregnancy - a condition where the fertilized egg implants itself in the fallopian tubes or any other tissue outside of the uterus. Tubal pregnancy can be life threatening, if not attended to in time. This is because it can lead to the rupture of the pelvic organ and consequent hemorrhage. It can also affect the woman's ability to become pregnant later.

Since it is impossible to carry a tubal pregnancy to term, it becomes imperative to resort to surgery to remove the products of conception since they cannot develop into a fetus. This is done without damage to fallopian tubes, as far as possible. This can be done with laparoscopy in non-emergency situations. Tubal pregnancy can happen to any woman but there are some causes that can increase the likelihood of such a pregnancy condition. Some of the causes for tubal pregnancy are: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, endometriosis or tubal scarring. Infection of the fallopian tubes such as gonorrhea or chlamydia can lead to a tubal pregnancy. The risk of ectopic pregnancy is manifold in cases of pregnancy after tubal sterilization. The use of the 'morning after pill' - emergency contraception is often noticed as a cause for tubal pregnancy.


An ectopic pregnancy is usually detected in the first 5 - 10 weeks of pregnancy. Ultrasound tests and hCG levels in the blood can help in identifying an ectopic pregnancy. The rate of increase of hCG in the blood is much slower in the case of an ectopic pregnancy or a potential miscarriage. Lower progesterone levels can also be an indication of likely tubal pregnancy. A woman having a tubal pregnancy will experience lower abdominal pain with cramping. There may be abnormal vaginal bleeding and breast tenderness. Lower back pain is another symptom. Severe bleeding and hemorrhage is the most dangerous symptom of ectopic pregnancy and needs prompt medical attention. If there is an emergency situation, there may be a need for blood transfusion.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

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