STD-associated Pelvic Pain is Dangerous: Get Screened NOW!

Pelvic pain experienced as a result of the complications from sexually transmitted diseases is an indication that there is a more serious problem with the sufferer.

A woman who is constantly complaining of pain on the pelvis or lower abdomen, whose routine constitutes a high-risk sexual lifestyle is most likely to be suffering from a Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is a vital sign that one or more of a woman's reproductive organs, which are positioned in the lower abdomen, need serious attention. This pain occurs usually in the lower abdomen, starting from the stomach down to the groin. The pain could be coming from the ovaries, fallopian tubes, the uterus, the cervix, or the vagina.

In men, pelvic pain could come from many disorders. However, prostatitis which is the inflammation of the prostate gland has been indicted in the pelvic pain felt by men who are infected with HIV/AIDS.

However, within the limits of this article, pelvic pain linked to PID in women shall be discussed.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is a general term used to refer to the infection of women’s reproductive organs. Women develop PID as a result of complications from sexually transmitted diseases such as Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. Infection from Bacterial vaginosis can also lead to PID.

The organs of a woman’s reproductive system that could be infected by STDs are the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the uterus, and the cervix. About a million women are treated for PID in the United States annually.

Women at risk of suffering from Pelvic Inflammatory Disease are those who have

  • been infected with Neisseria gonorrhea,
  • women who have been infected with Chlamydia trachomatis,
  • who have previously suffered from Bacterial vaginosis or Mycoplasma genitalium,
  • those who are sexually active and who have multiple sexual partners,
  • women who have sex during or immediately after menstruation,
  • those who practice unprotected sex,
  • and women who are below 25 years old.

The commonest symptom of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is the pelvic pain (pain in the lower abdomen). Other symptoms are:

  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Fever and chills
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Vomiting
  • Heavy vaginal discharge with a foul odor
  • Abnormal bleeding from the womb
  • Painful menstruation
  • Irregular menstruation

Complications arising from Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Undiagnosed or untreated Pelvic Inflammatory Disease can lead to more serious problems that could affect a woman irreversibly. Complications from Pelvic Inflammatory Disease include:

  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Infertility
  • Implantation failure for in-vitro fertilization

Diagnosis of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic pain is one of the most common symptoms in the diagnosis of PID. A doctor could diagnose based on the pelvic pain experienced by the woman, in addition to other symptoms noticed.

He would conduct a pelvic examination to check for the symptoms of PID by feeling for any pain, tenderness, or swelling. Samples of cells from her vagina and cervix are taken with cotton swabs, which would be taken to the laboratory for analysis. The analysis would determine which organism has caused the Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. Other tests recommended by the doctor include:

  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Blood test
  • Urine test
  • A laparoscopy
  • A pregnancy test

Treatment of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Suzanne Moore Shepherd for Medscape stated that the treatment of PID addresses the relief from symptoms presented by an infected woman, eradicates the infection presently causing the PID, and minimizes the risk of long-term effects associated with PID – including chronic pelvic pain.

Basically, the treatment of PID aims at curing the infection to minimize the risk of spreading the infection. It is advisable that a woman’s sexual partner/s be identified and treated if her PID is as a result of an STD as explained above.

Treatment is more efficacious when PID is detected and treated early. For the treatment of sexually transmitted PID, antibiotics are recommended, which target the bacteria causing the disease. The antibiotics include:

  • Azithromycin
  • Doxycycline
  • Ceftriaxone
  • Metronidazole

Women being treated for PID are barred from any sexual activity until treatment is completed and symptoms gone.

Prevention of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

To stay protected from PID caused by sexually transmitted diseases, a woman should be able to avoid high-risk sexual behaviors like having multiple sexual partners as well as having sex without condoms. She should routinely get tested for STDs regardless of protected sex or not. Young girls should, also, delay having sex until they are 18.