Last month, a study appeared showing that women with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) – which affects more than 800,000 American women every year – who had repeated episodes of PID were almost twice as likely to experience infertility. The study, which followed 831 women from teenagers up to age 38 for seven years, also showed that the disease quadrupled a woman’s risk of chronic pelvic pain. According to Healthfinder.gov, “During the follow-up, 21 percent of the women had one or more PID episodes after the initial diagnosis, nearly one-fifth were diagnosed as infertile, 43 percent reported chronic pelvic pain and 57 percent got pregnant.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), PID is an infection of a woman’s reproductive system; it is a complication of STDs such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea and can damage the fallopian tubes and other tissue – thereby hurting fertility and also making an ectopic pregnancy (in which a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube) and chronic pelvic pain more likely. Symptoms of PID can be vague or absent, says the CDC, though a woman may have pain in her lower abdomen. If you suspect PID or you’ve been diagnosed before, be sure to talk to your health care professional to get tested. PID is typically easily treated with antibiotics, though drugs can’t reverse damage that’s already been done to reproductive organs.