Risk Factors for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease


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About risk factors: Risk factors for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease are factors that do not seem to be a direct cause of the disease, but seem to be associated in some way. Having a risk factor for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease makes the chances of getting a condition higher but does not always lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. Also, the absence of any risk factors or having a protective factor does not necessarily guard you against getting Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. For general information and a list of risk factors, see the risk center.

Risk factor list: The list of risk factors mentioned for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease in various sources includes:

Risk factors discussion: Who is at risk for PID?

  • Women with STDs--especially gonorrhea and chlamydia--are at increased risk for developing PID. A prior episode of PID increases the risk of another episode because the body's defenses are often damaged during the initial bout of infection.

  • Sexually active women under age 25 are more likely to develop PID than are women older than 25.

  • The more sex partners a woman has, the greater her risk of developing PID. Also, a woman whose partner has more than one sex partner is at greater risk of getting PID, because of the potential for more exposures to infectious agents.

  • Women who douche have a higher risk of developing PID compared with women who do not.

  • Women who have an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted may have a slightly increased risk of PID compared with women using other contraceptives or no contraceptive at all. However, this risk is greatly reduced in women being screened and treated for any infections before an IUD is inserted. In addition, mutual monogamy is encouraged for women who choose to use this form of contraception to decrease the risk of getting PID.

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Risk Factors for PID

  • Women with STDs – especially gonorrhea and chlamydial infection – are at greater risk of developing PID; a prior episode of PID increases the risk of another episode because the body’s defenses are often damaged during the initial bout of upper genital tract infection.
  • Sexually active teenagers are more likely to develop PID than are older women.
  • The more sexual partners a woman has, the greater her risk of developing PID.

Recent data indicate that women who douche once or twice a month may be more likely to have PID than those who douche less than once a month. Douching may push bacteria into the upper genital tract. Douching also may ease discharge caused by an infection, so the woman delays seeking health care.

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Women with sexually transmitted diseases -- especially gonorrhea and chlamydia -- are at greater risk of developing PID than other women; a prior episode of PID increases the risk of another episode because the body’s defenses are often damaged during the initial bout of upper tract infection.

  • Sexually active teenagers are more likely to develop PID than are older women.

  • The more sexual partners a woman has, the greater her risk of developing PID.

  • IUD insertion, induced abortion, and other procedures during which instruments are passed through the cervix into the uterus increase the risk of PID. Recent data indicate that women who douche once or twice a month are more likely to have PID than those who douche less than once a month. Douching may flush bacteria into the upper genital tract. Douching also may ease symptoms of an infection, delaying effective treatment.

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Footnotes:
1. excerpt from PID: DSTD
2. excerpt from Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID
3. excerpt from Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: NWHIC

Last revision: June 10, 2003

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