Prenatal Health & Nutrition

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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a sexually transmitted infection that affects hundreds of thousands of women in the United States. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 750,000 women every year are reported to have acute PID ( PID is typically associated with chlamydia, a common bacterial STD that can cause serious and irreversible damage to a woman's reproductive organs. If detected early, chlamydia can be successfully treated with antibiotics. However, it is possible for a person to get re-infected with chlamydia under one or more of the following scenarios:

  • not following the doctor's instructions for treatment
  • sexual partner didn't receive chlamydia treatment and still has the STD
  • engaging in activities with a high risk of chlamydial infection (e.g. unprotected sex or sharing drug syringes)

What are the Symptoms of Chlamydia?

Symptoms for chlamydia can range from mild to severe. In about 75% of cases, women who simultaneously have chlamydia and PID tend to experience silent or no symptoms, according to the CDC. However, a lack of symptoms should not be perceived as a sign that the infection has cleared, as chlamydia can still do significant damage to the reproductive organs of women even when asymptomatic. Due to a lack of obvious or conclusive symptoms, many women are often unaware that they have acquired chlamydia unless they get STD testing. Your chances for developing a chlamydia infection that can lead to PID are increased if you regularly engage in unprotected sex, have multiple sexual partners, or use intravenous drugs.

What is PID?

PID is a term used to refer to infection of various parts of a female's reproductive system. When a woman acquires chlamydia, the bacterium first infects her cervix and then spreads to the urethra, uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. If the infection is left untreated, PID can result. The damage caused by un-diagnosed PID includes scarring to the fallopian tubes, tissues in and near the uterus, and ovaries. Long-term consequences of PID may include chronic pelvic pain, abscess formation, ectopic pregnancy (a condition in which the fetus develops outside the uterus), and infertility (2). 

Some signs of chlamydia or PID:

  • Lower abdomen or pelvic pain
  • Unusual bleeding between periods
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Abnormal, smelly vaginal discharge
  • Lower back pain
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Sore throat

Testing and Treatment for PID and Chlamydia

Many of the symptoms women experience can be seen as early-warning signs of more serious health problems. For instance, lower stomach and pelvic pain is one tell-tale sign of PID. In addition, chlamydial infection has been linked to preterm labor, premature rupture of the membranes, low birth weight and neonatal infections of the eyes and lungs. Due to the potential severity of these conditions, all pregnant women are advised to test for chlamydia and other common STI's during their first prenatal visit. Pregnant women who are at high risk for contracting chlamydia should get repeat testing during their third trimester and most reputable online STD testing providers will inform you of your test results in 1-2 days.





  1. "Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) - CDC Fact Sheet."  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d. Web 17 Feb. 2014  <> 
  2. "Chlamydia - CDC Fact Sheet." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d. Web 17 Feb. 2014 <>
  3. "Chlamydia - CDC Fact Sheet." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d. Web 17 Feb. 2014 <>




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