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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

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Diagnosis

PID can be difficult for your healthcare provider to diagnose because symptoms can be subtle and mild and similar to those of some other diseases. If you think you might have PID, you should get medical care promptly because early treatment can limit long-term complications such as infertility and chronic pelvic pain.

If you have symptoms such as lower abdominal pain, your healthcare provider will perform a physical exam, including a pelvic (internal) exam, to find out the nature and location of the pain. Your healthcare provider also will check for

  • Abnormal vaginal or cervical discharge
  • Masses near your ovaries and tubes
  • Tenderness or pain of your abdomen, cervix, uterus, and ovaries

Health experts have found that about 70 percent of chlamydial and 50 percent of gonococcal infections do not cause symptoms in women. These infections were found first through screening. You should get regular laboratory tests for chlamydia, gonorrhea, urinary tract infection, and if appropriate, pregnancy. Your healthcare provider may suggest these tests as part of a routine annual exam as well as tests for HIV infection and syphilis.

If necessary, your healthcare provider may do other tests such as a sonogram, endometrial (uterine) biopsy, or laparoscopy to distinguish between PID and other serious problems that can mimic PID.

Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure in which a tube is inserted through a small incision near your navel. This allows your healthcare provider to view the internal organs in the abdomen and pelvis and to take specimens to examine in the laboratory.

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Last Updated June 26, 2007