How to Treat PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease)

Three Parts:Dealing with PID at HomeGetting Medical Attention for PIDPreventing PID

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of women's reproductive system.[1] It occurs when bacteria (often sexually transmitted) spread from the vagina to other reproductive organs, such as the uterus, Fallopian tubes and/or ovaries. PID doesn't always cause obvious symptoms, although it frequently affects the ability for a woman to get pregnant. Some home remedies can be helpful for combating PID, but medical treatment should be sought out in order to prevent potential infertility and chronic pelvic pain.

Part 1
Dealing with PID at Home

  1. Image titled Treat PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) Step 1
    Recognize the symptoms of PID. PID doesn't often produce any symptoms during the early stages — especially if the infection is caused by chlamydia.[2] However, when symptoms are present they usually include: pelvic and lower abdominal pain, low back ache, heavy vaginal discharge that smells unpleasant, irregular menstrual bleeding, chronic fatigue, pain during sexual intercourse and urination, and mild fever.[3]
    • In the United States, almost 1 million women develop PID each year, and 1 in 8 sexually active girls will get PID before they turn 20 years old.[4]
    • Risk factors for contracting PID include: frequent sexual encounters, multiple sexual partners, not practicing safe sex, a history of having STDs, use of intrauterine devices, young age (14 - 25 years), and frequent vaginal douching.[5]
  2. Image titled Treat PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) Step 2
    Take a warm Epsom salt bath. If you have symptomatic PID with pelvic and/or lower abdominal pain, then soaking your lower body in a warm Epsom salt bath can significantly reduce spasm, pain and swelling.[6][7] The high magnesium content of the Epsom salt acts to soothe and relax muscle tension and cramping related to PID. Pour warm water in a bathtub and add a few cups of Epsom salt. You should start to feel results within 15-20 minutes of soaking in the tub.
    • Don't make your bath water too hot or soak for much more than 30 minutes at a time, because the hot salty water can pull moisture from your skin and potentially dehydrate you.
    • Alternatively, apply moist heat to your pelvic / abdominal muscle cramps — microwaved herbal bags work quite well, especially the ones infused with aromatherapy (such as lavender) which have muscle-relaxing effects.
  3. Image titled Treat PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) Step 3
    Try natural antibiotics. Since PID is essentially a bacterial infection of the reproductive organs, applying plant-based antibiotic ointments into the vagina might be helpful. For example, garlic has strong antibacterial and antibiotic properties and it even regulates the good vaginal bacteria.[8][9] Mince a few fresh garlic cloves to produce garlic oil. Apply some of this oil to a clean cotton swab. Insert the swab into the vagina and swab the inner walls. Let the oil absorb into the mucous membranes of the vagina for a few hours before washing. Repeat daily until the vaginal infection gets better. The main downsides to this treatment is the garlic odor and the potential to feel some intense tingling for a few minutes.
    • Other antibacterial herbal ointments that can be substituted for garlic oil (and smell better) include tea tree oil and coconut oil. In fact, these oils may help to cover up the unpleasant vaginal odor associated with PID.
    • Plant-based oral supplements (taken by mouth) that may help to fight PID include turmeric powder, odorless garlic pills, olive leaf extract, grapefruit seed extract and cat's claw.[10]

Part 2
Getting Medical Attention for PID

  1. Image titled Treat PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) Step 4
    Make an appointment with your family physician. If you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms a suspect that you might have PID, then see your family doctor or gynecologist as soon as you can. Your doctor will likely give you a physical (pelvic) exam, take a vaginal swab / sample, get your blood analyzed for signs of infection and possibly order imaging tests (ultrasound, CT scan or MRI) in order to rule out or confirm a diagnosis of PID.[11]
    • During a pelvic exam, your doctor will look for: vaginal and cervical pain, tenderness in your uterus, tubes or ovaries, bleeding from your cervix, a foul smelling vaginal discharge.
    • Blood test results that indicate an infection include a high erythrocyte sedimentation rate and elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and white blood cells (WBCs).[12]
    • The earlier you get a diagnosis, the more effectively PID can be treated and the less risk of complications (see below).
  2. Image titled Treat PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) Step 5
    Talk to your doctor about antibiotics. The primary medical treatment for PID is antibiotic therapy. Your doctor will likely prescribe a combination of medications to be most effective, such as: doxycycline combined with metronidazole, ofloxacin combined with metronidazole, or cephalosporin with doxycycline.[13] If you have severe PID, you may need to stay in the hospital and receive antibiotics intravenously (through a vein in your arm). Antibiotics can help prevent serious complications related to PID, but they can't reverse any damage that's already occurred.
    • If your PID is caused by an STD, such as like gonorrhea or chlamydia, then your sexual partner should be treated with antibiotics or appropriate medications also.
    • While taking antibiotics, your symptoms may fade away before the infection is completely cured, so always follow your doctor's advice and finish off your medicine as prescribed.
  3. Image titled Treat PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) Step 6
    Be on the lookout for complications. In most cases, antibiotic therapy is enough to combat PID, but sometimes the medications aren't effective or the infection is severe or become chronic — making it much more difficult to treat. In these instances, it's important to be watchful for the serious complications of PID, such as infertility (inability to get pregnant), scar tissue formation around the Fallopian tubes that causes a tubal blockage, ovarian abscesses, ectopic pregnancy (outside the womb), and chronic pelvic / abdominal pain.[14] Recent research indicates that women with PID are also at higher risk of a heart attack.
    • In about 85% of PID cases, the initial treatment succeeds and about 75% of the time women don't experience a recurrence of the infection.[15]
    • When there is a recurrence of PID, the likelihood of infertility increases with each subsequent episode.
    • Some complications, such as an ovarian abscess or Fallopian tube blockage, may require surgery.
    • More frequent doctor's visits and gynecological exams may help reduce the risks of developing complications from PID.

Part 3
Preventing PID

  1. Image titled Treat PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) Step 7
    Prevent PID by practicing safe sex. The exchange of body fluids during sexual contact is the most common way a woman contracts PID. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most common sexually transmitted infections that cause PID.[16] Know the health status of any sexual partner and always practice safe sex with them, preferably via the barrier method such as having your partner wear a condom. Condom usage doesn't completely eliminate the risk of transferring sexually transmitted diseases among people, but it significantly reduces it.
    • Avoid unprotected intercourse at all times, but particularly during menstruation when the risk of bacterial infection and growth is higher.
    • Have your partner wear a new latex or polyurethane condom for all types of sex acts.
    • STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can't penetrate latex or polyurethane, but sometimes condoms get ripped or are used incorrectly. That's why they aren't 100% protective.
  2. Image titled Treat PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) Step 8
    Practice good hygiene. In addition to practicing safe sex and being aware of the risk factors, practicing good hygiene — especially after going to the bathroom — is of great importance for reducing the likelihood of developing PID.[17] Bathe regularly and wipe yourself from front to back after urinating or having a bowel movement in order to reduce the risk of introducing bacteria from your rectum into your vagina. In addition to STDs (as noted above), E. coli bacteria from feces can also cause PID.
    • Remember to wash your genitalia, even if it's just with antiseptic baby wipes, immediately after sexual encounters.
    • Vaginal douching (too much of it or poor technique) may put you at greater risk for PID. Excessive douching can upset the balance of "good" bacteria in your vagina and allow the "bad" pathogenic types to grow unchecked.
    • Keep in mind that bacteria can also enter your vagina during childbirth, miscarriage, abortion procedures, an endometrial biopsy and while inserting an intrauterine device (IUD).[18]
  3. Image titled Treat PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) Step 9
    Boost your immune system. To combat any type of internal infection (bacterial, viral or fungal), true prevention depends on a healthy and strong immune response. Your immune system consists of specialized white blood cells that search for and attempt to destroy bacteria and other microorganisms that can cause disease, but when the defense system is weakened or malfunctioning, bacteria can grow unchecked and then spread to other reproductive organs via the blood.[19] Thus, focus on ways to keep your immune system strong and functioning properly in order to help prevent PID.
    • Getting more sleep (or better quality sleeps), eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, practicing good hygiene, drinking adequate amounts of purified water and regular cardiovascular exercise are all proven ways to boost your immunity.[20]
    • Your immune system will also benefit by cutting back on refined sugars (sodas, candy, ice cream, most baked goods), reducing your alcohol intake and stopping smoking.
    • Vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements that can boost people's immune response include: vitamins A, C and D, zinc, selenium, echinacea, olive leaf extract and astragalus root.[21]


  • If you're diagnosed with PID, ask your sexual partner to get tested for any infections and get treated (if needed).
  • If you smoke cigarettes, then quit because it's associated with an increased risk of developing PID.
  • Avoid taking iron supplements if you're diagnosed with PID (unless prescribed by a doctor) because harmful bacteria seem to thrive on excess iron.
  • Acupuncture may help stimulate immunity and reduce the pain and inflammation experienced by women with chronic PID.[22]


  • A woman who has multiple episodes of PID increases her risks for infertility. One in ten women with PID becomes infertile.
  • Without treatment, PID can cause permanent damage to female reproductive organs.

Sources and Citations

Show more... (19)

Article Info

Categories: Reproductive Health