Pelvic Inflammatory Disease - Cause
PID, sexually transmitted infection (STI), and bacterial vaginosis
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is
usually caused by a
sexually transmitted infection (STI) that infects the
cervix, which connects the upper vagina to the uterus.
When the cervix is infected with an STI, it becomes easier for other bacteria
present in the vagina to get into and infect the uterus and fallopian tubes.
PID can also develop as a result of
bacterial vaginosis (BV), which is a drop in the
vagina's "good" organisms and an increase in its potentially "bad" organisms.
When this happens and the problem organisms spread into the uterus and
fallopian tubes, PID can result. (BV is not sexually transmitted.) See a
picture of the
female pelvic organs .
The most common causes of PID are:
PID caused by chlamydia may have milder symptoms or no
symptoms (compared with PID caused by gonorrhea), which can delay
Practicing safe sex by using condoms prevents STIs. This greatly lowers PID risk. For more information, see the
Prevention section of this topic.
For more information, see the
PID and intrauterine devices (IUDs)
Women who have
intrauterine device (IUD) inserted for birth control
have a higher risk of getting PID in the first month after insertion,
especially if bacterial vaginosis or an STI is present at the cervix at the
time of insertion. The insertion procedure may transfer bacteria from the
vagina or cervix to the uterus. Your risk of infection can be reduced
- You are tested and treated for STIs and
bacterial vaginosis (if detected) before IUD insertion.
insertion is done carefully to minimize the chance of infection (clean
PID that spreads to abdominal organs
spread to other abdominal organs, either from the pelvic organs through the
lymphatic system or from the far ends of the
fallopian tubes. This may be more common in women who
- Given birth.
- Had uterine tests or
other procedures, such as:
- Had an abortion.