Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is just one of the Mirena side effects about which women have filed formal complaints to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, going even as far as filing lawsuits against the manufacturer.
What Is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the uterus and/or fallopian tubes that can cause lower abdominal pain, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It occurs when bacteria enters the uterus. It can damage the fallopian tubes as well as tissue surrounding the uterus and ovaries and lead to other serious complications such as infertility, chronic pelvic pain or an ectopic pregnancy, which is one that occurs in the fallopian tube or elsewhere outside the uterus.
More than 750,000 women suffer acute PID every year, according to the CDC. Some of these women develop PID from using the Mirena intrauterine device (IUD). PID can come from sexually transmitted diseases including chlamydia and gonorrhea, but it’s also a known IUD side effect. Women in their childbearing years are most at risk of developing PID from an STD. Those that use an IUD also have a higher risk of PID, the agency said, compared to women who use other forms of birth control.
Women are at the greatest risk for PID shortly after IUD insertion. Women who have had PID in the past also face a higher risk of reinfection.
Symptoms of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Women with PID will experience symptoms like abdominal or pelvic pain and tenderness, along with chills and fever. PID can also cause future menstrual disorders, including prolonged or heavy bleeding and unusual vaginal discharge.
Prompt PID treatment is needed to prevent it from causing permanent damage to female reproductive organs, the CDC said. If not treated, the bacteria can cause normal tissue in the fallopian tubes to turn into scar tissue, which will block or interrupt eggs from moving into the uterus. If scar tissue completely blocks the fallopian tubes, a woman becomes infertile. The CDC said as much as 15% of women with PID become infertile.
This scar tissue can also cause an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy can rupture fallopian tubes and cause severe pain, internal bleeding or even death, the CDC said. Women diagnosed with PID more than once are more likely to become infertile or have an ectopic pregnancy.
Because PID can be difficult to diagnose, many cases go undetected. There is also no precise test for PID at the moment, and so doctors must provide treatment for the disease if certain symptoms are present, the CDC said. A pelvic ultrasound is one way to detect PID and a laparoscopy may be needed to confirm the presence of the disease. Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure where a thin, rigid tube that has a camera at the end is inserted into a small incision in the abdomen. This allows a doctor to see the pelvic organs and take samples for laboratory testing.
Treatment of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Because PID is caused by bacteria, antibiotics can treat the disease. However, if PID has already damaged a woman’s reproductive organs, antibiotics won’t reverse that, the CDC said. Therefore, i’s important for women with PID symptoms to treat the infection as soon as possible.
PID is a serious risk associated with IUDs. Other Mirena side effects include perforation, embedment or migration of the device. Women have also filed lawsuits for developing ovarian cysts from the IUD.
If you or someone you know has experienced these complications, start your free case evaluation today. Once you’ve submitted your information, you may speak with an attorney on this case to see if you may be awarded compensation.
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.