Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is caused by one of several bacteria that are usually transmitted sexually, but also can be transmitted during an invasive medical procedure to the pelvic region (such as dilation and curettage) or childbirth. The bacteria infects one or more of the reproductive structures in the pelvis, including the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus. Many women are asymptomatic or experience symptoms so mild that they do not realize that there is anything wrong. Unfortunately, the condition can become serious. If inflammation damages the fallopian tubes or ovaries, there is a higher risk for ectopic pregnancy or infertility. Should an abscess develop somewhere in the pelvic region, there’s a danger that the abscess can burst and perforate one of the reproductive structures. A rarer emergency is bacteria from the pelvic infection invading the bloodstream and causing blood poisoning.
Signs and Symptoms
- May be asymptomatic (no symptoms)
- Mild, recurrent pain in lower abdomen
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Heavy menstrual periods
- Vaginal discharge that may be heavy
- Pain during intercourse
- Severe pain and tenderness in the lower abdomen (in some cases)
- Fever (in some cases)
- Vomiting (in some cases)
- Severe pain in lower abdomen with nausea, vomiting, faintness, and signs of shock (emergency symptoms)
Conventional Medical Treatments
A gynecologist or physician can diagnose PID with a pelvic exam and a culture of secretions. An ultrasound may help your doctor make a diagnosis. Treatment generally entails antibiotics for the patient and her sexual partner. In severe cases, or if an abscess is present, hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics are recommended. PID returns in 10 to 25 percent of cases.
Complementary and Alternative Treatments
Nutrition and Supplementation
Although there isn’t anything in the way of diet to improve or prevent this condition, there are supplements that can be of benefit. Nutritionists recommend the following daily program:
- a prodophilus formula – restores friendly bacteria; especially good when taking antibiotics
- vitamin C – boosts immune function and acts as an antiviral agent
- zinc – good for the health of the reproductive organs; promotes wound healing
- colloidal silver – used sublingually or topically, an antiseptic that reduces inflammation and promotes healing of lesions
- vitamin B complex necessary in all cellular enzyme functions
- vitamin K – necessary for blood clotting; destroyed by antibiotics
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture – This therapy may be used to improve circulation to the affected area, which will lessen pain and inflammation. Acupuncture also can be effective in relieving PID-related backache, abdominal pain, fever, fatigue, and vaginal discharge. The acupuncture points that practitioners focus on vary, depending upon the symptoms presented by the patient.
Acupressure – The practitioner typically targets the following points to treat PID: Conception Vessel, Bladder, Spleen all of which will improve circulation and help manage pain.
Chinese Herbal Therapy – Chinese herbs can be helpful in alleviating many of the symptoms of PID. The herbalist’s recommendation may vary, depending upon the patient’s specific symptoms, but may include cattail, Chinese cornbind, and ligusticum, along with herbs to fortify the kidneys and bolster the immune system.