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Pelvic inflammatory disease is a medical terminology that is used to refer to an infection that affects the reproductive organs. In short, this disease is most of the time referred to as PID. This condition can occur independently or sometimes as a symptom of a sexually transmitted disease such as Chlamydia or gonorrhoea.
Although these sexually transmitted diseases play a major role in the occurrence of PID, PID is an ailment that can also occur as a condition due to being infected by various bacteria. When the bacteria attack the vagina or cervix, the infection could move up to the reproductive organs resulting in PID.
The risk of PID increases when you have multiple sexual partners or an intra-uterine device or when using a douche. PID can also occur post few pelvic procedures, for instance, termination of a pregnancy. This disease can also occur after giving birth or as a result of a bowel infection or a ruptured appendix.
This illness is mostly found in young, sexually active women. In most of the cases of PID is a result of a sexually transmitted infection. Having unprotected sex increases the chances of developing this infection.
PID is not uncommon. Several women are diagnosed with the ailment globally every year. The prime effect of PID is infertility. However, have you wondered if you could be affected with PID when pregnant? Read on to know more about PID during pregnancy.
Can PID Occur During Pregnancy?
Although unusual, PID during pregnancy can be quite risky. When diagnosed with PID during pregnancy, the risks of preterm delivery increase drastically. Maternal morbidity also increases. If a pregnant woman is diagnosed with PID, she will need to be hospitalized immediately. The doctors would impart treatment with parenteral antibiotics. This is going by what is mentioned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The general symptoms of PID are lower abdominal pain, fever, abnormal vaginal discharge, foul vaginal odour, painful urination and painful intercourse, including bleeding after the act. However, when pregnant, lower abdominal pain and vaginal discharge could be caused due to other factors as well. Therefore, if you are pregnant and experiencing such symptoms, then you should immediately contact your healthcare provider so that the presence of PID could be identified accurately.
To identify the occurrence of PID, a woman would need to undergo certain tests. A swab is taken from the cervix and vagina to test for the presence of bacteria. In certain cases, a urine and blood test could also be conducted. This is done to check for the presence of bacteria that are linked to sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhoea and Chlamydia. In some cases, a pelvic ultrasound can also be conducted to see if the fallopian tubes are enlarged.
PID And Pregnancy Complications
Women with a history of PID and who eventually become pregnant have high risks during the pregnancy. The chances of miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth are high. When pregnant and having PID, one should seek early treatment. Even if the symptoms are mild, getting the disease treated early on can save you from several pregnancy complications during the later stages. It is important to complete the entire course of antibiotics prescribed for treating PID even if you see the symptoms to have vanished before completion of the entire course of medication.
Pregnant women who show even the slightest signs of PID are hospitalized immediately as it would be safer to receive antibiotics intravenously when pregnant. However, it is good to be aware that although antibiotics treat PID effectively, the damage already caused to the reproductive organs cannot be reversed.
Reducing The Risks Of Having PID
A woman should try her best to minimize the chances of the PID causing bacteria from being transmitted. It is essential to protect oneself from sexually transmitted infections. When having intercourse, stick to the use of condoms that would prevent body fluids, such as sperm and vaginal fluid from passing between the partners. When used correctly, condoms work efficiently in preventing sexually transmitted diseases. When engaged in an unsafe sexual activity, a woman should get herself tested for PID to avoid complications later on.
Can You Breastfeed When Seeking Treatment For PID?
When undergoing treatment for PID, you would be put on multiple antibiotics. If you have a baby who you breastfeed then it is important that you inform the doctor about it as there are chances that some of these PID treating antibiotics might not be safe to use when breastfeeding. Do not take any PID treating over-the-counter medication as this would be extremely harmful not just for you but also for your breastfed baby.
The CDC has brought out a list of the top three commonly used PID treating drugs. Two out of these three drugs fall into pregnancy category B and hence considered safe to be used when breastfeeding. However, the third drug belongs to category D and hence not suitable for intake when breastfeeding. These drugs are:
• Ceftriaxone: This drug can be safely used while breastfeeding. It has been marked safe by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
• Doxycycline: This drug might cause dental staining. It has also been associated with inhibited bone growth. The manufacturer of this drug also claims that there are some serious potential side effects to the consumption of this drug.
• Metronidazole: This drug poses a potential risk of tumour growth.
PID is an illness that requires quick medical intervention. Especially if you are pregnant, then seeking quick medical advice can save you from issues such as preterm labour and stillbirth. When pregnant, our utmost concern is the safety of the baby. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you take steps to prevent the chances of having PID.
Nevertheless, if you observe the signs and symptoms of PID, even in its most mild form, you should reach out to your doctor at the earliest. Being hospitalized and receiving early medical treatment to cure PID would help you in proceeding with your pregnancy till its full term with ease and comfort.