Sexually transmitted diseases are viruses, bacteria and even parasites that are passed to individuals through sexual intercourse. Some infected individuals may not have symptoms, which can result in them not getting treatment and continuing to spread the disease. If left untreated, several sexually transmitted diseases can cause complications.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
About 750,000 women in the United States have an episode of acute pelvic inflammatory disease each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pelvic inflammatory disease is a complication of sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, and is caused by bacteria traveling up from the vagina to the reproductive organs. This infection can also occur without a sexually transmitted disease.
Certain women have a higher risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease. These include women who are under age 25 and are sexually active, women who have more than one sexual partner, and users of intrauterine devices, according to WomensHealth.gov. Douching can also increase the risk, as it may push bacteria back to the reproductive organs.
Many women do not experience symptoms with pelvic inflammatory disease. For those that do, the most common symptom is pain in the lower abdomen. Foul-smelling vaginal discharge, painful urination and pain in the upper right abdomen may occur.
Other symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease include irregular menstruation, a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above, and painful sex. The CDC added that when pelvic inflammatory disease is caused by chlamydia, women may have only mild symptoms.
Treatment for pelvic inflammatory disease is antibiotics, though these medications will not reverse any damage caused by the disease. Untreated pelvic inflammatory disease can cause serious complication.
For example, about 10 to 15 percent of women who have the disease become infertile. The infertility is caused by the bacteria entering the fallopian tubes and turning normal tissue into scar tissue.