pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), infection of the female reproductive organs, usually resulting from infection with the bacteria that cause chlamydia or gonorrhea. The infection typically first affects the cervical area, then spreads to the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and abdomen. Symptoms may be absent but usually include pelvic pain and vaginal discharge. PID can cause abscesses and scarring in the fallopian tubes that can block fertilization or interrupt the egg's progress, resulting in ectopic (tubal) pregnancy and loss of the fetus. Over 1 million women are diagnosed with PID each year in the United States; 100,000 typically become infertile.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.