what is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

More than 50% of cases of infertility comes from PID alone. It’s a nightmare for a woman to know, but it’s true. The name “Pelvic Inflammatory Disease” refers to pelvis and inflammation, but it can hardly indicate the range of destruction it can cause to the reproductive system of a woman. Once the tissue is affected, the condition is more or less permanent unless corrected by surgery, but the chances are low for a full recovery. No woman wants to lose her capacity to motherhood, so it’s better to know how to prevent this condition.

What is PID?

PID is the inflammation of the female reproductive system, especially uterus, fallopian tubes, and the ovaries. The common seat of inflammation is either the ovaries or the fallopian tubes. A common condition called Salpingitis is a result of this inflammation when fallopian tubes are affected. Either tube is narrowed or totally blocked. Pelvic inflammatory disease can come from any STD or from bacterial vaginitis. BV results in the ascension of microorganisms from the cervix and vagina to the upper genital tract. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are the two probable STDs to cause this state.

It’s easier to prevent than to get a cure. This condition primarily comes from bacterial infections and causes induration or a fibroid condition of ovaries too. The primary inflammation causes scarring if the condition is not treated in time. This is a permanent damage to the reproductive system is irreversible. It can only be treated successfully by surgery in some cases.

The uterus is also not free from this scarring. There are other organs and tissues which get affected by this scarring. The inexplicable pelvic pain that women experience, comes from the process of scarring during a PID onslaught. During the primary inflammation state, it’s treatable with antibiotics and treatments same as used to treat other bacterial infections. Acute ruptures in the fallopian tube due to ectopic pregnancy can only be with surgery.

Causes of PID

PID can come from a wide array of microorganisms, so it’s considered a polymicrobial infection. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia are very similar in their manifestation and very similar in nature. Both are caused by bacteria and both are capable of causing PID.

Neisseria gonorrhea and Chlamydia trachomatis have been identified to be present in women with PID infections almost half of the times. Other anaerobic organisms which cause bacterial vaginosis in women have also been found in women with PID. Latest developments in medicine indicate that Mycoplasm genitalium may also be responsible for milder cases of PID. All in all, this is a complication mainly caused by bacteria responsible for infection of the vaginal tract.

Frequent vaginal douching can disturb the vaginal flora because it disturbs the normal chemical and microbial balance of the vagina. It also increases the chances of PID.

Women use douching to clean their vagina from time to time. The techniques used are different in different women. A wide variety of techniques are used with different cleaning agents and liquids. Use of plain cold water is common. Some use lukewarm water for better comfort and better cleaning. Some women may use diluted vinegar or various antiseptics. It may involve a non-pressurized rinsing to a high-pressure jet. It is always risky, but women do it anyway when they want to get rid of the foul odor. If the odor is due to a BV, they increase the chances of PID.

What are the Symptoms of PID?

  • Pain in the lower abdomen and pelvis
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Bleeding between menstrual periods
  • Excess and foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Painful urination
  • Painful sex
  • Lower back pain
  • Fever and other general signs of infection with exhaustion

Risk factors for PID

Sexually active teenagers are more prone to this than women ranging between 25- to 29 years of age. The probable cause for this seems that the reproductive tracts of young teens are fully developed to deal with pathogens and bacteria.

African-American women seem to be in the high-risk category of PID. This may be due to their ethnicity or biological factors. They use regular douching which may be a possible cause for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.

The relationship between PID and infertility is established beyond doubt, but there may be “Nay-Sayers,” as there are always a few, but it’s ultimately your life. Women generally want a baby at mature age except for the ones with the “teen-mom” desire. What if they discover their infertility at too old an age? Pelvic Inflammatory Disease takes hold of the female reproductive system at a younger age when they least expect it. The last word, prevent it! That’s the easiest way to do it. If you have the slightest reason to believe that you might have contacted Chlamydia or Gonorrhea, get an STD Testing.

Note: Even if everything seems normal an extra STD test doesn’t hurt. Considering the risk factors and the future expenses the amount you spend on testing is nothing.

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Test

When people go for either a Chlamydia test or a Gonorrhea test, they always go for a combined “Chlamydia and Gonorrhea test.”

The main reason for that is that both the tests are quite similar. Additionally, Chlamydia symptoms are very similar to Gonorrhea symptoms, so it’s only wise to test for both infections together to ascertain the exact type of infection.

This test is called the Nucleic Acid Amplification Test or NAAT. Both Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are caused by bacteria. When somebody is infected with these bacteria, there’s supposed to be the presence of the bacteria in the urine sample.

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Test Window Period is generally 3 to 7 days. It means 3 to 7 days after the infection period the detection of the individual bacteria can be done positively. In most of the cases people come for a test much after that, but if you’re not among them then it’s better that you wait for at least 7 to 10 days.

The NAAT test carries out an amplification of the DNA of the bacteria and detects it in case there’s a trace of the infection-causing bacteria. In case of Chlamydia, it’s Chlamydia trachomatis and in Gonorrhea, it’s the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria.

It’s the most accurate test available as on date for both of these bacteria, so it’s called the “Gold Standard” for both of these tests. The accuracy is 99.99% in both cases. It’s widely used in both doctors’ offices and hospitals, across the country.

The NAAT test is also referred as urine Chlamydia test or urine gonorrhea test because the test sample is primarily urine. In case of women, an additional swab of the vagina is collected for additional safety. Taking a Chlamydia test or a Gonorrhea test is no longer painful or embarrassing. The collection of the sample takes hardly any time. As there’s no needle penetration, there’s no pain.

For a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test, no blood sample is collected. Let’s be very clear about that. Many people avoid these tests for the sake of fear of a needle penetration.

Now, there are 2 ways you can submit a sample. You can either visit a nearby test lab or you can opt for a home STD testing kit.

In the first case, you can a visit one of the 4000+ labs which is close to your home. It may at most take 15 to 20 minutes drive to reach the lab but you can submit the sample on the same day. The tests are completely anonymous so no one knows why you are there.

In the second case, you receive a sample collection kit at your home by post. All the instructions for sample collection are enclosed inside the kit, so there are no hassles. Now, in your convenience, you can collect the samples and re-seal the kit as directed and post it at the post office. Never drop these sample boxes into the mailboxes.


Recommendations: Chlamydia and gonorrhea test

  • Always opt for a Chlamydia and Gonorrhea test together. They are more reliable and cheaper when carried out together.
  • Refrain from urinating an hour before submitting your sample. The first urine of the day at the morning is considered the best.
  • Prefer a lab test to a test kit; the former is fast and the best.
  • Never worry about the privacy of the tests. They’re 100% private.
  • It’s recommended once every year for all sexually active adults.



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Chlamydia is considered the silent killer STD. In most of the cases, it doesn’t manifest any symptoms at all.

Individuals infected with this, generally find it hard to notice the infection. On an average, about 75% of infected women and about 50% of infected men show no symptoms. That’s the reason why it spreads so rapidly.

In other cases, it manifests mild to strong discomfort of the genitalia and rectum. The timing of the manifestation is generally between the first to third week from the date of infection. The main seat of manifestation of  Chlamydia is the genito-urinary system.

Chlamydia symptoms in women

In women, the symptoms are more marked than that in men.

The symptoms come only after a gestation period of  7 to 21 days. In extreme cases, there may be mild fever, hardly a couple of degrees more than the normal body temperature, with an acute sensation of nausea. Though the list isn’t exhaustive, Chlamydia symptoms in women may manifest some or all of the following.

  • Transparent or mucopurulent vaginal discharge
  • Pain or a burning sensation in urethra during urination
  • Intermittent bleeding between menstrual cycles
  • Occasional bleeding after sex
  • Smarting pains as from a splinter during sex
  • Low abdominal pain at either side at the region of ovary, and at center at the region of the bladder
  • Nausea associated with bleeding from vagina and pain in the whole region of abdomen.

Undetected and untreated Chlamydia cases in women may result in Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or PID.

The bacteria attack the cell membranes and leak out the cell protoplasm. This results in inflammation and a clear or micro-purulent discharge. The bacteria use the mucosal cells and cause chronic scarring and permanent deformation to the female reproductive organs. The ovaries are deformed and fallopian tubes get distorted and blocked. The result is permanent infertility.

In some cases, this may be the cause of cystitis inside and outside of the uterus and vagina.

Chlamydia symptoms in men

Chlamydia manifests fewer and less painful symptoms in men than women. Men who had been diagnosed with Chlamydia infections report the following symptoms.

  • Discharge from urethra
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Burning and smarting sensation during ejaculation
  • Swelling of one or both testes
  • Pain in testes and Vas Deferens

Untreated and overlooked cases in men lead to infection of the urethra, Vas Deferens, Cowper’s glands, and prostate. The bacteria are capable of causing indurations and scarring in all these glands which lead to deformations in the epithelial layers. The testes are rendered non-functional and the sperm carrying tubes of the Vas Deferens get blocked or disconnected due to tissue growth inside the tube. The final result is incurable infertility in male.

The urethral discharge, burning, and painful swelling of testes and Vas, however, remain a permanent feature. These symptoms may not be present all the times but will manifest quite regularly depending upon the state of general health.


Is Chlamydia curable?


The only solution to an infection of Chlamydia Trachomatis is a timely detection of the infection and timely treatment.  When there’s a chance of infection, one must undergo a Chlamydia test as quickly as possible. The treatment is simple as in case of other bacterial infections. A regular course of antibiotics under the prescription of an authorized medical practitioner is enough to get rid of this STD. Time is the only hope in such cases.


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The symptoms of Chlamydia as described in this article are illustrative, not conclusive. These indications or alterations in normal state of health can hint at the presence of the STD in the patient but can’t confirm it. For a confirmation, however, one has to undergo a Chlamydia test under approved medical procedures.


What is Chlamydia?


Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease or STD. It is caused by a bacteria named Chlamydia trachomatis which only infects humans. It falls under family- Chlamydiaceae, genus Chlamydia and species of trachomatis. A Chlamydia infection can come from any bacteria of the Chlamydiaceae family. As per the specific nature of the bacterium the symptoms may have minor variations.

Facts about Chlamydia

Chlamydia is very common in the human race. It’s  the most widespread STD in USA, UK, and most European countries. It’s  even more widespread in the developing and under-developed countries and is a major reason for high infant mortality and infertility in both men and women. In the USA alone 1,307,893 cases were reported in 2010. The CDC received the report of these cases from 50 states and the District of Columbia. This is certainly not the actual figure of real infections as most of the cases go unreported for multiple reasons.

It is estimated that 2.8 million Chlamydia infections occur in the U.S per year. Women are considered the hardest hit sex because they are very prone to any STI, especially bacteria based STDs. Even after a cure, they get easily re-infected if their partner is not treated along with them. So, it’s imperative that in case of a Chlamydia infection, both the spouses are treated together.

In the UK, however, the number of cases is far less but it’s still the most commonly diagnosed STI. As an example, in 2004, there were 104,733 new Chlamydia cases which rose to 109,958 new diagnoses in 2005. The National Health Service, UK claims that those who are sexually active among women under the age of 25 have a 10% chance of becoming infected with Chlamydia. Recurring Cases of Chlamydia infection are very common among women aged 14-19. The age range for a male who falls under the infection risk is between 20 – 30 years.

A Chlamydia infection primarily affects two distinct areas in humans; the genito-urinary system and the eyes. In cases of gay-sex where anal sex is frequent, chlamydia of the anus can be seen. In such cases, there can be anal itching and a transparent discharge from the anus.

Chlamydia of the anus can be present in women also. If a woman indulges in anal intercourse with a man infected with chlamydia, there’s a chance of her getting infected with it. However, in common cases, Chlamydia in women manifests as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or PID.

chlamydia trachomatis infection in the eye

Trachoma due to chlamydia

However, this infection is mainly treated as STD. Both men and women develop different sets of symptoms as they inherit different sexual systems.

Chlamydia symptoms are very mild and very difficult to notice. To ascertain an infection one has to undergo a Chlamydia test.


Chlamydia trachomatis

This bacterium is an intracellular parasite. After it enters the host cell, it thrives and then replicates. It attacks the cervix first and causes mucopurulent endocervicitis in female sexual organs. In case of a male, it attacks the urethra and causes mucopurulent urethritis. There is a pus-like discharge from the urethra which can be transparent, translucent, white, bloody white or muddy white. However, in most of the cases, the STI is asymptotic and does not manifest any perceptible or painful symptoms.

In eyes, it causes conjunctivitis and trachoma. Either Chlamydia trachomatis or certain subtypes of this bacterium cause these eye infections. It can also affect the eyes of a newborn infant if the mother is infected with Chlamydia. The symptoms resemble a mucopurulent bloody discharge and redness and swelling in the eyes. It is capable of partial to complete blindness and death in case of infants.

Trachoma generally starts as mild to intense itching and irritation to both the eye and eyelids. There can be associated symptoms such as redness and photophobia or blurred vision. When the condition of the eye deteriorates, there can be transparent mucous-like discharge or white or yellow pus-like discharge.

Life cycle of chlamidia trachomatis bacteria

Chlamydia Trachomatis life cycle

Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria propagates with its elementary body(EB). It is the low infective stage of the bacteria. The EB gets attached to the human cell and then penetrates the cell membrane. Then the trachomatis EB uses the RNA and cell protein to form its own reticulate body(RB) with its own micromolecule of DNA, RNA, and protein. After some gestation period(during which the bacteria reorganizes from RB to EB), approximately 40 to 50 hours, it produces Lysis of the cells and breaks open the cell membrane and discharges the EBs. Then the EBs get attached to the cell receptors of healthy cells and the process repeats.

Chlamydia is curable. It’s treated with antibiotics. First, you must ascertain its infection by STD testing.