Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) - aftercare

Description

You've just seen your doctor for pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID refers to an infection of the uterus (womb), fallopian tubes, or ovaries.

Treating the infection

To fully treat PID, your doctor may need to prescribe one or more antibiotics. Taking antibiotic medicine will help clear the infection in about 2 weeks.

  • Take this medicine at the same time every day.
  • Take all the medicine you were prescribed, even if you feel better. The infection can come back if you don't take all of it.
  • Do not share antibiotics with others.
  • Do not take antibiotics that were prescribed for a different illness.
  • Ask if you should avoid any foods, alcohol, or other medications while taking antibiotics for PID.

To prevent PID from coming back, your sexual partner must be treated as well.

  • If your partner is not treated, your partner can infect you again.
  • Both you and your partner must take all the antibiotics prescribed to you.
  • Use condoms until you both have finished taking antibiotics.
  • If you have more than one sexual partner, they must all be treated to avoid re-infection.

Side effects of treatment

Antibiotics can have side effects, including:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Rash and itching
  • Vaginal yeast infection

Let your doctor know if you experience any side effects. Do not cut back or stop taking your medicine without taking with your doctor.

Antibiotics kill the bacteria that cause PID. But they also kill other types of helpful bacteria in your body. This can cause diarrhea or vaginal yeast infections in women.

Probiotics are small organisms found in yogurt and some supplements. Probiotics are thought to help friendly bacteria grow in your gut. This may help prevent diarrhea. However, studies are mixed about the benefits of probiotics.

You can try eating yogurt with live cultures or taking supplements to help prevent side effects. Be sure to tell your doctor if you take any supplements.

Prevent future infections with safe sex

The only sure-fire way to prevent an STI is to not have sex (abstinence). But you can reduce your risk of PID by:

  • Practicing safe sex
  • Having a sexual relationship with only one person
  • Using a condom every time you have sex

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if:

  • You have symptoms of PID
  • You think you have been exposed to an STI
  • Treatment for a current STI does not seem to be working

References

Birnbaumer DM. Sexually transmitted diseases. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 98.

Meyers D, Wolff T, Gregory K, et al. USPSTF recommendations for STI screening. Am Fam Physician. 2008;77:819-824.

Workowski KA, Berman S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2010. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2010;59(RR-12):1-110.

Review date:
November 13, 2014
Reviewed by:
Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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