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Guide To PID
|How Can PID Be Prevented?
The only way to prevent PID is to keep the bacteria that causes the condition out of the vagina. While this may not always be possible, some precautions may be useful. In the following article we discuss the various risk factors for PID and precautions which may be taken.
Gonorrhea and chlamydia bacterial infections account for 50 percent of all PID cases in America. As both conditions can be asymptomatic (but silently attack the reproductive organs), routine STD testing is recommended (particularly if you have more than one sexual partner a year). STD prevention advice should be followed, including reducing the number of sexual partners you have and using appropriate barrier protection (condoms and female condoms). It should be noted, while condoms and spermicides can help prevent infection they are no guarantee. Teenagers should delay losing their virginity until 16 because they are at higher risk of PID. If you do show symptoms of STDs you should instantly stop all sexual activity and seek appropriate treatment. Follow-up testing within 3 to 6 months of treatment is important because women infected with chlamydia and gonorrhea have a high rate of re-infection within 6 months (regardless of whether their partner was treated). Even if the bacterial source of PID is not identified you should abstain from sexual activity until all symptoms have fully abated.
Note: The 2010 CDC guidelines state that HIV testing should be offered to all women diagnosed with acute PID.
Care After Gynecologic Procedures
Women are particularly prone to infection at times when the cervix is partially open - such as after an abortion, miscarriage or childbirth. At such times, intercourse and tampons should be avoided until the cervix has closed.
Intrauterine Contraceptive Devices
IUD devices are a popular birth control choice for women. Some studies have linked IUDs to PID - not due to the IUD itself, but rather due to non-sterile insertion techniques used by healthcare workers or because the woman already has an existing STD. If symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease do occur, they likely to do so within the first 21 days of the IUD being inserted. Screening the woman for existing STDs beforehand, and ensuring the IUD is inserted with due clinical care, reduces the risk of infection significantly.
Screening For Bacterial Vaginosis
Although bacterial vaginosis (BV) is associated with PID (read about the causes of pelvic inflammatory disease), whether the risk of PID can be reduced by identifying and treating women with BV is still unclear.
Studies of oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) have reported different effects on PID risks. On one hand, the Pill is thought to increase the risk of endocervical infection. On the other hand, evidence indicates that the Pill can decrease the risk of symptomatic PID, possibly by increasing cervical mucus viscosity (stopping bacteria entering the womb), decreasing retrograde menstrual flow (where menstrual blood flows up the fallopian tubes instead of out the vagina), and improving immune responses. Still other studies suggest that birth control pills may no effect on PID incidence.
Avoid douching, particularly if you are at risk for STDs. While there is no evidence that douching increases the risk of PID, it can upset the delicate balance of bacteria inside the vagina. Instead pay attention to other hygiene habits. Wipe from front to back after going to the toilet to avoid spreading bacteria from the colon to the vagina.
Be aware of the signs of PID and symptoms of STDs. See your doctor if worried about abdominal pain, abnormal bleeding or vaginal discharge, painful sex, fever, chills or any other unusual gynecological symptoms. Always have a yearly Pap smear test and gynecological exam. Read, recommended health screenings for women for more advice.
Garlic, Natures Natural Antibiotic
Garlic is one of the wonder foods that offers all sorts of therapeutic effects, from fighting bacterial infections (like PID), to thinning the blood, reducing blood pressure and preventing cancer. Half a clove of raw garlic a day (mixed in with a salad dressing for example) is enough to help prevent heart attacks and strokes. As well as being antibacterial, it is also antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitic and antiprotozoan. In one study in China, doctors used high doses of garlic on patients with cryptococcal meningitis (an often fatal fungal infection). 6 people were cured and 5 improved. Of course one of the things people worry about eating garlic, is the smell of their breath. Unless everyone is eating garlic, the person who does is easily identified by their breath. Scientists have debated for years how to best get rid of this odor, some suggestions include eating yogurt, honey or drinking strong coffee, a glass of milk or red wine. Chewing parsley may also help to douse the smell. Cooked or raw? Garlic has to be raw to kill bacteria, prevent cancer and boost the immune system. But it has to be cooked to lower blood cholesterol and keep the blood thin. The best advice is to eat it both ways.