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Does UTI lead to pelvic inflammatory diseases? Know from an expert

Since bacteria that travel from the vagina or cervix to the reproductive organs are the cause of pelvic inflammatory disease, can a UTI also cause it?
causes of pelvic inflammatory diseases
Be careful of pelvic inflammatory diseases. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Sangeeta Gomes Published: 17 Mar 2023, 15:45 pm IST
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Pelvic inflammatory diseases (PID) causes inflammation of a woman’s reproductive organs, leading to scar formation between tissues and organs. This condition either stems from an untreated sexually transmitted infection or other gynecological infection. The pelvic inflammatory disease affects the lower reproductive system such as the uterus, the fallopian tubes or the ovaries. While many different types of bacteria can cause pelvic inflammatory diseases, can urinary tract infection (UTI) also lead to it? Let’s find out.

The link between UTI and pelvic inflammatory diseases

Urinary tract infection is proportional to pelvic inflammatory diseases as both affect a woman’s lower reproductive system. When the urinary bladder infection is left untreated, the infection spreads further affecting the reproductive organs such as the vagina or cervix, resulting in pelvic inflammatory diseases which require more time and more potent medications to control. Urinary tract infection is a condition where any part of the urinary system is infected which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.

It is observed that symptoms of pelvic inflammatory diseases are similar to urinary tract infections. However, what differentiates them from each other is their severity and their long-term impact.

causes of pelvic inflammatory diseases
Pelvic inflammatory disease can even affect fertility. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Watch out for these symptoms to differentiate between UTI and PID

1. Severe pain in the pelvic area

When the body’s reproductive organs are exposed to the bacteria introduced by a sexually transmitted disease, inflammation occurs, resulting in intense pain which is more aggressive than regular menstrual cramps. If you experience intense cramping in your lower abdomen or pelvis especially if you aren’t menstruating, it is advised to consult a doctor to find out the cause.

2. Fever

Fever indicates that the body is fighting an infection. If you have a fever lasting more than a few days along with pelvic pain or vaginal discharge, it could be UTI.

causes of pelvic inflammatory diseases
Be careful these symptoms. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Pain during sexual intercourse

If you experience pain during intercourse, it can either be an indication of a bladder infection or yeast infection however if infections are left untreated it may result in pelvic inflammatory disease which may pose long-term health problems.

4. Unusual vaginal discharge

Vaginal discharge is normal. However, if there is an excessive amount of discharge accompanied by an unusual odour, it could be a symptom of pelvic inflammatory disease. If you experience this, it is important to start the treatment before it reaches other reproductive organs.

5. Frequent painful urination

Painful urination is a symptom of a urinary bladder infection. If left untreated, the bladder infection gets worse and may travel into the uterus or ovaries, causing pelvic inflammatory disease. During the treatment, be transparent about the pain level because extreme pain is more likely a symptom of pelvic inflammatory diseases that needs more attention and a stronger dose of antibiotics than a bladder infection.

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causes of pelvic inflammatory diseases
Urinary tract infection can cause frequent urination. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

6. Irregular menstruation

Extra-long periods, spotting, heavy bleeding, or cramps throughout the month is a symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease. Menstruation is accompanied by these, but if these symptoms are severe and hamper your daily activities, a proper check-up is required.

7. Rectum and lower back pain

Pelvic inflammatory disease is accompanied by intense pain in the lower back and rectum, especially during periods. So, if you’re struggling with these symptoms, it could be PID.

8. Vomiting and fatigue

Severe pain in your abdomen may result in nausea and vomiting since the body has low immunity to fight infections. If you experience fatigue along with the aforementioned symptoms, consulting with a doctor is beneficial to understand the exact cause.

causes of pelvic inflammatory diseases
Constant fatigue can indicate a problem. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Takeaway

It is important to understand that if symptoms are ignored, it may lead to long-term health complications hence it is important to consult a doctor if you experience any symptom regardless of the magnitude to be on the safer side.

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About the Author

Dr Sangeeta Gomes is a senior obstetrician, gynaecologist, and an infertility specialist. She completed her MBBS from Gandhi Medical College, Hyderabad in the year 1994 and her MD in Obstetrics and Gynaecology from Osmania Medical College, Hyderabad in 1998. She has an experience of 28 years. She has a wide range of experience in the field of Pre-and Post Delivery Care, Instrumental Delivery, and High-Risk Pregnancy Care which includes twins pregnancy, pregnancy with a bicornuate uterus, breech presentation, transverse lie, fibroid complicating pregnancy, and placenta previa. She is specialised in Infertility Evaluation and Treatment. She is also specialised in teenage problems, hormonal imbalance, DNC, cervical cerclage, open abdominal surgery, laparoscopic surgery, and peri and post-menopausal problems. She has good expertise in previous cesarean cases and gynecological surgeries. She is a consultant obstetrician, gynaecologist and infertility specialist at Motherhood Hospitals. ...Read More

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