What is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and what causes it?
PID is an infection of the womb (uterus) and Fallopian tubes. It also affects the ovaries sometimes. Whatever is responsible for the infection usually travels into the uterus from the vagina or neck of the womb (cervix).
A common cause of PID is from a sexually transmitted infection (the germs (bacteria) are passed on when you have sex). Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are the most commonly found causes of PID. A mixture of chlamydia plus gonorrhoea sometimes occurs. Sometimes the bacteria can be in the neck of the womb for some time without causing symptoms. When they travel into the womb you become unwell. This is why you might develop PID weeks or months after having sex with an infected person.
Some cases of PID are not due to a sexually transmitted infection. The vagina normally contains many different bacteria. These are usually harmless and are not passed on by sexual contact. However, these bacteria sometimes cause PID. This is more of a risk after having a baby, or after a procedure such as inserting a contraceptive coil.