Health Information and Tools > Patient Care Handouts >  Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: Care Instructions

Main Content

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: Care Instructions

Picture of female pelvic organs


Pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, is an infection of your uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes. PID can cause scars in the fallopian tubes. This can lead to chronic pelvic pain. It can also make it hard for you to get pregnant in the future.

PID can usually be treated with antibiotic pills. Any sex partners need to be treated too. It's important to take all the medicine as prescribed. PID can cause serious health problems if you and your sex partner or partners don't complete treatment.

PID is usually caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. Having one STI increases your risk for other STIs. Taking steps to prevent STIs can help you avoid getting PID again. For example, using condoms when you have sex can reduce your risk.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your antibiotics as directed. Don't stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Rest until your symptoms have improved.
  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If you're not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • Store prescription pain medicines where no one else can get to them. When you are done using them, dispose of them quickly and safely. Your local pharmacy or hospital may have a drop-off site.
  • Use a hot water bottle or a heating pad (set on low) on your belly for pain.
  • Talk to any sex partners you've had in the past 2 months. They need to be tested and treated for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Don't have sex or use tampons (you can use pads instead) until you and any sex partners have completed treatment, your pain is gone, and you feel completely well.
  • Don't douche.
  • Take steps to help prevent STIs.
    • Use a condom every time you have sex.
    • Talk to your partner before you have sex. Find out if they have or are at risk for any STI. Keep in mind that people may be able to spread an STI even if they don't have symptoms.
    • Try to avoid having sex with anyone who has symptoms of an STI. These include sores on the genitals or mouth.
    • Limit your sex partners. Sex with one partner who has sex only with you can reduce your risk of getting an STI.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have a new or higher fever.
  • You have unusual vaginal bleeding.
  • You have new or worse belly or pelvic pain.
  • You have vaginal discharge that has increased in amount or smells bad.
  • You are dizzy or light-headed, or you feel like you may faint.
  • You have symptoms of sepsis, such as:
    • Shortness of breath.
    • Feeling very sick.
    • Severe pain.
    • A fast heart rate.
    • Cool, pale, or clammy skin.
    • Feeling confused.
    • Feeling very sleepy, or you are hard to wake up.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

Enter N294 in the search box to learn more about "Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: Care Instructions".

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.