Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Picture of female pelvic organs

Pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, is an infection of a woman’s fallopian tubes and other reproductive organs. PID is usually caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. PID can cause scars in the fallopian tubes, making it hard for a woman to get pregnant. Having one STI increases your risk for other STIs, such as genital herpes, genital warts, syphilis, and HIV.

It is important to take all the medicine that was prescribed. PID can cause serious health problems if you do not complete your treatment.

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 call line 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. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Rest until your fever and pain have improved.
  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Use a hot water bottle or a heating pad (set on low) on your belly for pain.
  • Do not douche.
  • Do not have sex or use tampons (you can use pads instead) until you have taken all the medicine, your pain is gone, and you feel completely well.
  • Talk to any sex partners you have had in the past 2 months. They need to be tested and may need to be treated for STIs.

To prevent STIs

  • Use latex condoms every time you have sex. Use them from the beginning to the end of sexual contact.
  • Talk to your partner before you have sex. Find out if he or she has or is at risk for any sexually transmitted infection (STI). Keep in mind that a person may be able to spread an STI even if he or she does not have symptoms.
  • Do not have sex with anyone who has symptoms of an STI, such as sores on the genitals or mouth.
  • Having one sex partner (who does not have STIs and does not have sex with anyone else) is a good way to avoid STIs.

When should you call for help?

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

  • You have a new or higher fever.
  • Your pain gets worse.
  • You think you may be pregnant.

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

  • You vomit or have diarrhea.
  • You are not getting better after 2 days.

Where can you learn more?

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Current as of: February 25, 2016