What are the most common symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease?
PID isn’t always easy to spot, as some of the symptoms are mild and are also commonly linked to other conditions. In some cases, PID symptoms can develop quickly and you’ll start to feel ill within a few days.
Most of the time though, PID symptoms are mild and develop gradually. You might notice a slight abdominal pain over a few weeks or changes in your periods. Having few or no symptoms doesn’t mean you won’t get complications and the infection won’t go away without treatment.
Some of the most common symptoms include:
Pain around the pelvis or lower abdomen
PID pain can feel as if it’s coming from your uterus (womb), Fallopian tubes or ovaries. You’ll usually feel it middle of your lower abdomen.
Don’t just shrug it off if you feel a pain deep inside your pelvic area during or straight after having sex as it can be a symptom of PID and some other sexually transmitted infections.
Pain during urination
Pain during urination is often assumed to be cystitis. If you’ve never had cystitis before, see the doctor to rule out PID or other urinary tract infections before taking any medication.
Bleeding between periods and after sex
This is a symptom that always needs to be investigated, whether you suspect PID or not. Light bleeding or ‘spotting’ for a day or so between periods could be ‘mittelschmerz’ - ovulation pain, which is nothing to be concerned about. However, it can also be a symptom of PID, sexually transmitted diseases and other more serious conditions.
If the amount of blood you lose during a period suddenly increases, see your doctor.
Many women deal with period pain on a regular basis, but if it suddenly gets worse for you, it may be a warning sign. Sometimes, severe period pain can be caused by an underlying medical condition like PID or endometriosis.
Unusual vaginal discharge, especially if it's yellow or green
You’ll know what’s usual for you, but clear, creamy or slightly yellow discharge is considered normal. If you notice a sudden increase in the amount of discharge, if it’s brownish, reddish or greenish or smells bad, it needs investigating.
In some women, symptoms of PID are similar to other diseases that cause abdominal pain, including appendicitis, food poisoning, ruptured ovarian cyst, diverticulitis, or ovarian torsion (twisted ovary). Other symptoms that could be confused with other conditions include:
- Endometriosis - can cause severe period pains, and pain during sex.
- Cystitis - can cause urgent, uncomfortable urination.
- Non sexually transmitted infections like Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) or Vaginal Thrush - can cause discharge, as can hormonal fluctuations.
If in doubt - visit your doctor.