Did you know that untreated sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can cause a serious, often-symptomless condition? Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) affects about 2.5 million American women, a new study reported, even if they don’t know it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PID infects female reproductive organs and it can be treated if it’s caught early. The disease can also be a result of other untreated infections that are not sexually transmitted. Additionally, 1 in 8 women with a history of PID experience difficulties getting pregnant.

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According to HealthDay, scientists recently discovered that women who’d been with 10 or more male sex partners were three times more likely to experience PID when compared to those with a single partner.

"Pelvic inflammatory disease can be treated, as well as the STD that caused it, but the structural damage that occurs because of PID is often irreversible," said study author Kristen Kreisel, according to HealthDay. "That's why it's important to stay on top of it.”

There are no tests for PID, but we’ve listed the symptoms of PID to know, as reported by the CDC.

  • Lower abdomen pain

  • Fever

  • Unusual vaginal discharge with a bad odor

  • Pain and/or bleeding during sex

  • Burning sensation when you urinate

  • Spotting between periods

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The study authors suggest that sexually active women under age 25 be screened annually for STDs. If you think you have PID, you should see a doctor.

Source: Kreisel K, Torrone E, Bernstein K, Hong J, Gorwitz R. Prevalence of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease in Sexually Experienced Women of Reproductive Age — United States, 2013–2014. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2017.

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