Can PID Lead To Infertility?
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a severe infection of the female reproductive organs. Bacterial infections are the leading causes of PID, particularly sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea or chlamydia. If left untreated, PID can go on to scar the fallopian tubes and even the ovaries, making pregnancy difficult. About 1 in 8 women with PID will struggle to get pregnant. This reality can feel distressing and hopeless for women trying to start or grow a family. However, with in vitro fertilization (IVF), pregnancy is within reach.
How can you tell if it’s PID?
Pelvic inflammatory disease can be especially difficult to diagnose. Some patients may have no symptoms while others will have similar symptoms to other reproductive conditions. Start by looking for early signs, like abnormal uterine bleeding, abdominal pain, or vaginal discharge, then seek medical help. A doctor will start by asking questions about the patient’s general health and sexual history. These questions, along with pelvic exams, laparoscopy, and ultrasound, can help doctors diagnose the condition.
Get treatment quickly
Once diagnosed, women with PID should first aim to get treatment as quickly as possible. In the early stages of PID, women will struggle to get pregnant or experience ectopic pregnancies, which are a health risk. After multiple instances of PID, infertility rates increase over 50%. For early cases, a doctor will quickly prescribe antibiotics over 14 days with periodic checks.
The success of antibiotics depends on how quickly the condition is treated. After a successful treatment, some women can get pregnant naturally after several months of trying. Despite clearing the infection, some women still become infertile. Infertility can happen due to repeated PID, chronic pain, scarring, ectopic pregnancy, or abscesses in the fallopian tubes. These complications often require surgical intervention first before attempting pregnancy again.
The power of IVF
If surgery fails or there is permanent damage to the fallopian tubes, IVF can help. IVF involves first extracting eggs from the ovaries to create embryos with a partner’s sperm. Then, the best embryo is made available to transplant into the woman’s womb. Some embryos are frozen for future cycles, known as frozen embryo transfer. IVF has proven to be a successful treatment option for tubal infertility. For severe cases, the couple may require donor eggs or a donor embryo in some cases. The fertility doctor can help provide counseling and advice on donors.
What are my chances of success?
Pelvic inflammatory disease can become severe or chronic if left untreated. In many cases, PID can go undetected for months or even years. Over time, the condition severely reduces the ability to become pregnant, even after treatment. Some women get pregnant after antibiotics, patience, and lifestyle changes. However, when that fails, IVF can improve the chances of getting pregnant.