Infection and inflammation occur when microbes penetrate into the uterus and spread to the ovaries, uterine tube and surrounding tissues. The cause of the infection does not always have to be clear, although microbes can often be transmitted through the vagina during the intercourse. In very rare cases, the infection develops after inserting the intrauterine contraceptive, or after spontaneous or induced abortion.
Pelvic infection may be acute, with sudden and pronounced symptoms, as well as chronic, with mild progressive symptoms.
If you have acute pelvic infection, you will feel the pain (and become sensitive to touch) in the lower abdomen, and you will probably have a fever, too. Chronic pelvic infection is accompanied by frequent, persistent abdominal pain, and sometimes with back pain. In both types of infections you may feel pain during intercourse, there will be menstrual disorders (which may occur earlier than normal or be abundant), and you may have an abnormally thick and unpleasantly smelling discharge from the vagina.
The disease is not common, and only 1 out of 1,000 women is treated from it annually. It is most common among young, sexually active women.
If the disease is neglected, abscesses can develop on the uterine tube or ovaries, which will cause damage and scarring, and may even lead to infertility. In very rare cases, the disease spreads abruptly, causing peritonitis and even blood poisoning.
What to do?
As soon as you notice these symptoms, go to your doctor so you can start with the treatment as soon as possible. The doctor will take vaginal swab to determine which microbes cause the infection.
Infection is treated with antibiotics, and you can take paracetamol or some of the more powerful painkillers against abdominal pain. Your doctor will recommend resting in bed until the symptoms disappear, and sexual absistence (three to four weeks long). Such measures usually result in complete healing. If, after about five days, the condition has not improved, you will probably have to go to a hospital for internal examination, and perhaps laparoscopy for diagnosis check. The problem will probably be resolved by therapy with a specially selected antibiotic. However, if an abscess is detected during the examination, it is often advisable to perform an operative procedure.