Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and chlamydia

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the uterus, the ovaries, and the tubes that carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus (fallopian tubes). Up to 40% of women with untreated chlamydia will develop PID.1

PID may cause scarring of the fallopian tubes. Scarring can block the tubes and prevent fertilization. About 7% of women with PID will become unable to get pregnant (infertile).2 Your risk of infertility increases each time you get PID.

Scarring of the fallopian tubes can prevent the fertilized egg from going to the uterus. When this happens, the egg may implant outside of the uterus. This is called an ectopic pregnancy. Women who have untreated chlamydia have a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy than other women. Ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening.

To reduce the risk of infertility after having PID, use a condom every time you have sex. Having fewer sex partners also helps prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Having multiple sex partners is one of the risk factors for chlamydia infection.

Citations

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2007). Chlamydia—CDC fact sheet. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/stdfact-chlamydia.htm.
  2. Paavonen J, Schwartz D (2003). Pelvic inflammatory disease. In SA Morse et al., eds., Atlas of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS, 3rd ed., pp. 141–157. Edinburgh: Mosby.

Last Updated: January 9, 2009

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