A DOCTOR has warned not to delay seeking tests for a hidden STI.
It has symptoms that are easily mistaken for day-to-day problems, but could have dire consequences left untreated.
GettyDon’t ignore the signs of a STIs – left untreated they can have complications[/caption]
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Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female reproductive system. It is not an STI, but is typically triggered by one.
Chlamydia or gonorrhoea, if not medically treated, can lead to PID.
In many other cases, it’s caused by bacteria that normally live in the vagina.
It’s not clear how many people have PID in the UK, but is considered “common” by the NHS.
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There is no simple test for diagnosing it, which may explain why statistics are scarce.
But if you have symptoms of PID, it’s important you see your doctor.
Dr Miriam Stoppard said “delaying treatment for PID or having repeated episodes of PID can increase your risk of serious and long-term complications”.
“Unless treated promptly there’s always the possibility of infertility,” she told The Mirror.
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Tummy pain always raises eyebrows among doctors as a potential symptom of PID.
Dr Miriam said: “Pelvic inflammatory disease is always in the frame when a woman is complaining of sudden pain in the lower right side of the abdomen.
“If you have severe pain, you should seek urgent medical attention from your GP or local A&E department.
“In addition to the pain there’s fever, abnormal vaginal discharge, and possibly a previous sexually transmitted infection.”
Other symptoms of PID are discomfort during sex that’s felt deep inside the pelvis.
Pain when urinating, painful and heavy periods, and bleeding between periods and after sex may also occur.
But PID often doesn’t have any clear symptoms, and those that do occur are mild.
The 10 symptoms
Most symptoms are mild and may include 1 or more of the following:
- Pain around the pelvis or lower tummy
- Discomfort or pain during sex that’s felt deep inside the pelvis
- Pain when peeing
- Bleeding between periods and after sex
- Heavy periods
- Painful periods
- Unusual vaginal discharge, especially if it’s yellow, green or smelly
A few people become very ill with:
- Severe pain in the tummy
- A high temperature (fever)
- Feeling and being sick
Concerned? Get checked
Because PID can be caused by STIs, it’s important to get a test if you:
- Have symptoms of an STI, such as unusual discharge, itching or bleeding
- Are having sex with someone who has an STI
- Are worried after having sex without a condom
- Are pregnant with symptoms of an STI
You can see a GP, but they’ll probably refer you to a sexual health clinic if they think you may have an STI, the NHS says.
You can find an NHS sexual health clinic here – most are walk-in appointments.
A service in London called SHL provides free testing at home as part of an NHS study.
There are also screening tests available to buy online which may cover a broader range of viruses.
You can reduce your risk of PID by always using condoms with a new sexual partner until they have had a sexual health check.
- Buy Extended STI Test Kit, £120, from Superdrug Online Doctor, testing for seven of the most common STIs.
If caught early, PID can be treated with antibiotics in just two weeks.
But there are some complications of the disease, including narrowing of the fallopian tubes which prevents eggs from moving to the womb.
This could have devastating consequences for those trying for a baby.
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The NHS says: “Some people with PID become infertile as a result of the condition. If you have delayed treatment or had repeated episodes of PID, you’re most at risk.”
You can reduce your risk of PID by always using condoms with a new sexual partner – even if you are on birth control – until they have had a sexual health check with negative results.