If left untreated, inflammation of the cervix, or cervicitis, can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Although not all cases of PID are caused by a sexually transmitted infection, pathogens transmitted sexually or bacterial vaginosis-associated pathogens are commonly associated with the condition. Approximately 15% or fewer of these infections are associated with other causes, such as enteric or respiratory pathogens.
Women with PID may not experience clinical symptoms. If this is the case, irreversible scarring to the reproductive organs may lead to sterility before the patient is even diagnosed with PID.
Patients may also experience dysuria, or pain with urination.
Patients may experience foul smelling vaginal discharge. Women who notice a change in the character or quantity of vaginal discharge should consult a healthcare professional.
Patients with PID may experience fever and chills.
Dyspareunia or painful intercourse can occur in women with PID.
Gradual onset of pain in the lower abdominal area may progress to constant pain. In these patients, walking may increase lower abdominal pain. Pain related to PID may also occur with intercourse.
Spotting, or irregular bleeding between periods may occur. Women with PID may also notice spotting after intercourse.
Women with PID will experience pain when the cervix is being palpated or assessed, this is known as cervical motion tenderness. This is also referred to as the “chandelier sign.” The name describes the upward reaching motion, as if reaching for a chandelier, that a woman makes during a painful pelvic exam.
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