Untreated pelvic inflammatory disease might cause scar tissue and pockets of infected fluid (abscesses) to develop in the reproductive tract. These can cause permanent damage to the reproductive organs.
Complications from this damage might include:
PID is a major cause of tubal (ectopic) pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy can occur when untreated PID has caused scar tissue to develop in the fallopian tubes. The scar tissue prevents the fertilized egg from making its way through the fallopian tube to implant in the uterus.
Instead, the egg implants in the fallopian tube. Ectopic pregnancies can cause massive, life-threatening bleeding and require emergency medical attention.
Infertility. Damage to your reproductive organs may cause infertility — the inability to become pregnant. The more times you’ve had PID, the greater your risk of infertility. Delaying treatment for PID also dramatically increases your risk of infertility.
Chronic pelvic pain
Pelvic inflammatory disease can cause pelvic pain that might last for months or years. Scarring in your fallopian tubes and other pelvic organs can cause pain during intercourse and ovulation.
Tubo-ovarian abscess. PID might cause an abscess — a collection of pus — to form in your reproductive tract. Most commonly, abscesses affect the fallopian tubes and ovaries, but they can also develop in the uterus or in other pelvic organs. If an abscess is left untreated, you could develop a life-threatening infection.
To reduce your risk of pelvic inflammatory disease:
Practice safe sex
Use condoms every time you have sex, limit your number of partners and ask about a potential partner’s sexual history.
Talk to your doctor about contraception
Many forms of contraception do not protect against the development of PID. Using barrier methods, such as a condom, helps to reduce your risk. Even if you take birth control pills, use a condom every time you have sex with a new partner to protect against STIs.
If you’re at risk of an STI, make an appointment with your doctor for testing. Set up a regular screening schedule with your doctor if needed. Early treatment of an STI gives you the best chance of avoiding PID.
Request that your partner be tested
If you have pelvic inflammatory disease or an STI, advise your partner to be tested and treated. This can prevent the spread of STIs and possible recurrence of PID.
Douching upsets the balance of bacteria in your vagina.