What are your treatment options if Pelvic Inflammatory Disease has left you unable to conceive children naturally?
What is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is an infection of a woman's pelvic organs. PID moves up from the vagina, and can affect the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Women can acquire PID in a variety of ways it is possible, for instance, to develop Pelvic Inflammatory Disease after giving birth because of a less than hygienic hospital environment. The sexually transmitted infections chlamydia and gonorrhea are the two most frequent causes of PID, however.
These STIs are incidentally often without symptoms, and women who do not go for regular STI testing may be vulnerable to PID, which develops when chlamydia and gonorrhea are "allowed" to roam around the body freely, causing destruction and possibly infertility. Though the STIs that cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease often go unnoticed, PID itself is likely to make itself known through vague symptoms. Women with PID may notice pelvic pain, painful sexual intercourse and urination, and irregular or otherwise noteworthy menstrual periods. Abnormal vaginal discharge and fevers are also associated with PID. When left untreated, PID will cause an inflammation of the fallopian tubes that can eventually lead to scarring and blocked fallopian tubes.
Blocked fallopian tubes cause infertility,
because egg and sperm are unable to meet. Blocked fallopian tubes are a very common cause of female infertility.
Infertility after PID how you find out
Early diagnosis of the sexually transmitted infections that lead to PID is best, because a simple course of antibiotics is often enough to eliminate these diseases (though gonorrhea is now quickly becoming resistant to antibiotics!). When you have Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, treatment with (more aggressive) antibiotics will get rid of the underlying infection as well. Treating PID will prevent further damage. It does not, however, undo any damage that has already been done. The longer PID has roamed free, and the more episodes a woman has had, the greater the chance that the woman's reproductive system has sustained permanent damage. Women who have had one episode of PID have a 15 percent risk of infertility, while those who had two episodes of PID have a 35 percent chance. Women who had PID three times have a 75 percent chance of infertility! In the United States only, 100,000 women become infertile due to PID each year! Ultrasound and laparoscopy can help women who have had Pelvic Inflammatory Disease find out whether they have blocked fallopian tubes or abscesses. If you are contemplating how to get pregnant and have had PID in the past, it's a good idea to see your OBGYN about it. It's very possible that you only find out about having Pelvic Inflammatory Disease because you head to the doctor after not being able to get pregnant. PID also comes with a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage, and women may even learn about the scarring and blockages in their reproductive system after either of these two unpleasant experiences.
Treatment options for women who are infertile after PID
Once you have been diagnosed with infertility due to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, you will probably discuss one of two treatment options with your medical team. Tuboplastic surgery to unblock the fallopian tubes could be successful in some cases. IVF, in which your eggs will be harvested medically and then fertilized in a lab, is a more successful "treatment" for infertility caused by blocked fallopian tubes these days. Woman who have blocked fallopian tubes but who would like to get pregnant should discuss the best options in their individual case with their medical team. The best solution in your situation depends on the extent of the damage, as well as external factors such as what your insurance policy may cover.