Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) has been identified as one of the leading causes of infertility in women of reproductive age.
Dr Muhammed Bello of the Pathology Department, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ilorin on Wednesday.
Bello described PID as an infectious and inflammatory disorder of the upper female genital tract.
He said it includes the uterus, fallopian tubes and adjacent pelvic structures, saying that the infection may spread to the abdomen; including perihepatic structures.
Although, he said, PID was a treatable condition, with most patients making full recovery, he, however, regretted that about 10 to 15 per cent of women with PID would have difficulty in conceiving.
Some, he said, would have ectopic pregnancy.
“PID is initiated by infection that ascends from the vagina and cervix into the upper genital tracts and Chlamydia trachomat is the predominant sexually transmitted organism associated with it,” he said.
He listed neisseria, gonorrhea, gardnerella vaginalis, influenza and anaerobes as other organisms implicated in the pathogenesis of PID.
“Some cases of PID are not, however, due to sexually transmitted infection.
“The vagina normally contains many different bacteria which are usually harmless and are not passed on by sexual contact,” he said.
Bello pointed out that a woman could be more at risk of having the condition after delivering a baby, or after a procedure such as inserting a contraceptive coil called, Intrauterine Device (IUD).
He also said that pain, ranging from mild to severe, at the lower abdomen, called the pelvic area, was the most common symptom.
Other symptoms, he said, included abnormal vaginal bleeding, which occurs in about 1 in 4 cases that may be period heavier than usual or bleeding between periods; having pain during sex and back pain, among others.
The expert called for patient education to focus on the methods of preventing PID and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
He said this should include reducing the number of sexual partners, avoiding unsafe sexual practices and routinely using appropriate barrier protection.
Bello said women should also abstain from multiple sex partners, especially when they on IUD birth control.
“They should also treat their partners along when embarking on treatment,” he said.