Is There A Connection?
There are some very distinct and undeniable similarities between pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and endometriosis. There has been some thought given to the possible connection between the two. Before we come to a conclusion, let's look at each situation, what it is and how it manifests.
What Is PID?
PID often results from a sexually transmitted disease that was not treated. Gonorrhea or chlamydia remain rampant in society and often go unnoticed until serious pain presents in a woman's abdomen. There are other causes for PID, including bacterial vaginosis, pelvic surgery or another type of gynecological procedure. What we do know is that PID is preventable.
Infections are the result of the body working hard to fight off bacteria. In PID, the immune system endeavors to fight off the STD, or other type of infection, and inflammation of the entire upper reproductive tract-including uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries-happens, usually with salpingitis, a common inflammation in the fallopian tubes.
It is possible that the inflammation can spread to other organs if it is not halted in the reproductive organs, causing scarring not only of the organs, but also of the pelvic cavity. The result is chronic pelvic pain. This scarring is also a major contributor to infertility in women all over the world and is one of the primary causes of ectopic or tubal pregnancies. The extensive scarring that results from PID causes the fallopian tubes to become blocked, which can limit the ability of the sperm to reach the egg in the tube in order to be fertilized. Additionally, if an egg does manage to become fertilized, it may have difficulty making the trek to the uterus in order to grow. This is when an ectopic pregnancy happens.
Endometriosis Is Similar But Different
Endometriosis has a very similar effect upon the reproductive organs of a woman. Estimates that range between 30 to 50 percent suggest that women with endometriosis are infertile. However, endometriosis on its own usually does not restrict the ability to conceive, although it is a contributor either directly or indirectly.
The condition of endometriosis is when endometrial tissue that normally grows within the uterus grows outside of that environment and attaches to other organs and the pelvic cavity. This causes pain and irregular bleeding and can be a cause of infertility. When the endometriosis implants on the fallopian tubes, the passage of the egg may be blocked, just as it is when PID does damage to the tubes. If emdometrial implants occur on the ovaries, the release of an egg is prevented. When endometriosis is very severe, scarring forms between the various organs. These adhesions prohibit the movement of the egg between the ovary, fallopian tube and uterus.
Research investigating the connection between a faulty immune system and endometriosis is being conducted, as is research into genetic abnormalities as possible causes of endometriosis. Another suspected cause is menstrual fluid in the tubes during a period.
Is There A Link Between The Two?
The fact is that the exact cause of endometriosis remains unknown. The only positive link between PID and endometriosis is that they both cause a great deal of pain in the pelvic region. The symptoms are so similar that sometimes it is difficult to determine which one is causing the pain. Endometriosis can, at times, be hard to see and a microscope may be necessary to determine if it is the cause of the pain. However, PID is an infection, treatable with antibiotics and endometroisis is a condition that often requires surgery to correct.