Infection of the female internal reproductive organs
occurring in sexually active females, with peak incidence in late 20s and early 30s. This
is contagious if it is caused by a sexually transmitted organism.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Early symptoms (up to 1 week):
- Pain in the lower pelvis on one or both sides, especially
during menstrual periods. Menstrual flow may be heavy.
- Painful intercourse.
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge.
- Low fever.
- Frequent, painful urination.
Later symptoms (1 to 3 weeks later):
- Severe pain and tenderness in the lower abdomen.
- High fever.
- Increasingly foul-smelling, vaginal discharge.
- Bacterial infection (chlamydia,
gonorrhea or mycoplasma) or a virus. This may be transmitted by an infected sexual
- Pelvic surgery.
- Observation of symptoms.
- History and examination by a doctor.
- Laboratory blood studies and culture of the vaginal
- Surgical diagnostic procedures, such as laparoscopy or culdocentesis.
- Pelvic abscess and rupture. This can be life threatening.
- Adhesions inside the pelvis.
- Thrombophlebitis (blood clots that break off and travel to
WHAT MAY HAPPEN?
Usually curable with early treatment. Complications may
be fatal. The illness lasts from 1 to 6 weeks, depending on its severity.
- Take frequent hot baths. This may reduce the bad odor of
the vaginal discharge, as well as relax muscles and relieve discomfort. Sit in a tub of
hot water for 10 to 15 minutes as often as needed.
Your doctor will prescribe:
- Antibiotics to fight infection, which may be necessary for
about 1 month.
- Pain relievers.
Avoid sexual intercourse until well. Rest in bed until
the fever subsides. Sit and lie in different positions until you find one that is
comfortable for you. Allow several weeks for recovery.
CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY, IF
- You notice symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Symptoms recur after treatment.