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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) Basics

Here are the CDC's answers to common questions about pelvic inflammatory disease. Find more questions and answers in Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)—CDC Fact Sheet.

  • PID can lead to serious consequences in women, including difficulty getting pregnant.
  • Untreated STDs can cause PID.
  • You can prevent PID if you know how to protect yourself.
  • If diagnosed and treated early, the complications of PID can be prevented.

What is PID?

Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of a woman’s reproductive organs. It is a complication often caused by some STDs, like chlamydia and gonorrhea. Other infections that are not sexually transmitted can also cause PID.

How do I get PID?

You are more likely to get PID if you:

  • Have an STD and do not get treated.
  • Have more than one sex partner.
  • Have a sex partner who has sex partners other than you.
  • Had PID before.
  • Are sexually active and are age 25 or younger.
  • Douche.
  • Use an intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control.

How can I avoid getting PID?

You can protect yourself from getting PID by:

  • Not having sex.
  • Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results.
  • Using latex condoms and dental dams the right way every time you have sex.

Can PID be cured?

Yes, if PID is diagnosed early, it can be treated. However, treatment won’t undo any damage that has already happened to your reproductive system. The longer you wait to get treated, the more likely it is that you will have complications from PID. While taking antibiotics, your symptoms may go away before the infection is cured. Even if symptoms go away, you should finish taking all of your medicine. Be sure to tell your recent sex partner(s), so they can get tested and treated for STDs, too. It is also very important that you and your partner both finish your treatment before having any kind of sex so that you don’t re-infect each other.

Last Updated: 
9/1/15