Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, aka PID, is an infection of the fallopian tubes, uterus and other reproductive organs. It is a common complication that results from some sexually transmitted infections (STIs), particularly Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia. Left untreated, PID may result in serious consequences, which include: ectopic pregnancy, in which the foetus is in the fallopian tube or somewhere else outside the womb; infertility; chronic pelvic pain; and formation of abscesses.

PID is caused by bacteria that move upward from the vagina or the opening of the uterus, called the cervix, into the reproductive organs. The ones who are most at risk are sexually active women during their childbearing years. Also, due to more exposure to potentially infectious agents, a woman who has more sex partners has a greater risk of suffering from PID. This also applies to a woman whose sex partner has many other partners.

According to research, douching increases the risk of developing PID. This is because douching harms the organisms that live in the vagina, called the vaginal flora. These organisms serve as natural protection. Without this protection, bacteria can go into the upper reproductive organs.

Women below 25 years of age are more prone to developing PID than women above the age of 25. The reason for this is that the cervix of teenagers and young women has not yet matured, which increases the susceptibility to STDs that are associated with PID.

In the US, it is estimated that more than one million women a year suffer from an episode of acute PID, and about a tenth of this figure represents women who become infertile each year because of PID. PID and its complications cause the deaths of more than 150 women a year.

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