Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)


  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) comprises spectrum of infections of the upper reproductive tract:
  • It is the most common serious infection in women aged 16 to 25 years and begins as cervicitis (commonly due to GC or chlamydia) that may progress to polymicrobial infection.
    • Initial lower tract infection may be asymptomatic
    • Most common cause of death is rupture of a tubo-ovarian abscess
  • Bilateral tubal ligation does not confer protection against risk[1]
  • Risk factors[2]
    • Age < 25
    • Age at first sexual intercourse < 20
    • Non-white ethnicity
    • Nulliparous
    • History of transmitted diseases, especially chlamydia
    • IUD within 4 months of insertion

Clinical Features


Physical Exam

  • Cervical motion tenderness
  • Adnexal tenderness (Most sensitive finding - Sn ~95%)
  • Mucopurulent cervicitis
    • Absence should prompt consideration of another diagnosis
  • RUQ Pain
    • May indicate perihepatic inflammation (particularly if jaundice also present)

Differential Diagnosis

Pelvic Pain

Pelvic origin

Abdominal origin



  • Urine pregnancy
  • Wet mount
  • Endocervical swab (for GC, Chlamydia)
  • CBC
  • Urine culture, analysis (to exclude UTI)


  • Pelvic U/S
    • Ultrasound sensitivity may be as low as 56% and specificity of 85% [3]
  • CT

CDC Empiric Diagnosis Criteria[4]

  • Woman at risk for STIs
  • Pelvic or lower abdominal pain
  • No cause for the illness other than PID can be identified
  • At least one of the following on pelvic exam:
    • CMT
    • Uterine tenderness
    • Adnexal tenderness.
  • Additional criteria that make the diagnosis more likely:
    • Oral temperature >101° F (>38.3° C)
    • Abnormal cervical or vaginal mucopurulent discharge
    • Pesence of abundant numbers of WBC on saline microscopy of vaginal fluid
    • Elevated ESR
    • Elevated CRP
    • Laboratory documentation of cervical infection with GC or chlamydia


Treat all partners who had sex with patient during previous 60 days prior to symptom onset

Outpatient Options

Alternative Outpatient Options



  • No change in treatment if IUD in place (may treat without removal)




  • 72hr follow up
  • Instruct patient to abstain from sex or adhere strictly to condom use until symptoms have abated


See Also


  1. Shepherd SM et al. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Clinical Presentation. Jan 2017.
  2. Simms I et al. Risk factors associated with pelvic inflammatory disease. Sex Transm Infect. 2006 Dec; 82(6): 452–457.
  3. Lee DC, Swaminathan AK. Sensitivity of ultrasound for the diagnosis of tubo-ovarian abscess: a case report and literature review. J Emerg Med. 2011 Feb;40(2):170-5. doi: 10.1016 PMID 20466506
  5. Ness RB et al. Effectiveness of inpatient and outpatient treatment strategies for women with pelvic inflammatory disease: results from the Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Evaluation and Clinical Health (PEACH) Randomized Trial. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2002;186:929–37
  6. CDC PID Treatment
  7. 7.0 7.1 Savaris RF. et al. Comparing ceftriaxone plus azithromycin or doxycycline for pelvic inflammatory disease: a randomized controlled trial. Obstet Gynecol. 2007 Jul;110(1):53-60