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How Common Is Pelvic Infection Or Is It A Rare Disease?

Pelvic infection is a common disorder of the sexually transmitted infections acquired generally in females less than 25 years producing complications such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain.1

Pelvic infection is one of the most common conditions of the United States and several other countries across the globe.2

Although a common disorder of STI, it can lead to Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome in individuals who are more susceptible to infection.34

How Common Is Pelvic Infection?

How Common Is Pelvic Infection?

Pelvic infection is a sexually transmitted disorder that causes infection in the upper genital tract in females. Clinical studies are in continuous progression to determine the frequency of the condition and to ascertain whether if it falls under the category of a common or rare disorder. Researches have shown that in 2013, about 88,000 women aged between fifteen and forty-four in the United States were diagnosed with pelvic diseases. Pelvic infections occur most commonly in females ages 15 to 25 years.

Pelvic infections are usually caused due to sexually transmitted bacteria that spread from your vagina to your uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries that require immediate treatment to prevent scarring of the fallopian tubes. Damages to the fallopian tubes often enhance the risks of infertility and frequent possibilities of ectopic pregnancy.1

A study conducted in NHANES during 2013 -2014, showed Pelvic infections were noticed in 1,171 sexually experienced reproductive-aged women and the lifetime of the symptoms was 4.4%. The prevalence of lifetime Pelvic infections showed significant differences. The lifetime was often dependent on the individual’s sexual behavior and health history.

However, no significant differences were noticed in terms of age, ethnicity, or social/economic aspects such as poverty, current place, or medical insurance coverage. The increased incidence was noticed in women who had previous episodes of sexually transmitted infection and other behaviors that increase the risk for acquiring an STI. 2

Is Pelvic Infection A Rare Disease?

Pelvic infections can result even from untreated bacterial infections including chlamydia and gonorrhea which is preventable and treated through antibiotic therapy. Pelvic infections though a common condition but can root for a rare disorder Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome almost exclusively in women.

Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome is a chronic manifestation of pelvic infection. The prevalence in adults with mild to moderate pelvic infection is less than 4 percent but higher in patients with genital tuberculosis.

Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome is caused by a rapid onset of pain in the upper abdomen that spread to other regions as well as the right shoulder and the inside of the right arm. Recurrent Pelvic infections are not uncommon and are often related to significant reproductive complications.

However, over the past decade, there is a potential decrease in Pelvic infection rates. But they are commonly noticed in both outpatient clinic and emergency department settings. The diagnosis of Pelvic infections is primarily clinical when the women face pain in the lower abdomen or tenderness in the genital tract. Early and speedy treatment should be initiated based on medical analysis.3,4

Abnormal vaginal bleeding with fever might be caused by an inflammation in the female reproductive organs. The majority of women with mild Pelvic infection symptoms may develop pain in the lower abdomen, painful periods, unusual bleeding, headache, and being sick.

The symptoms vary from mild to severe that require antibiotic therapy, patients with mild symptoms would be advised to stop the sexual activity until the treatment completions whereas severe cases will need hospitalization.


  1. Das, Breanne B, et al. “Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: Improving Awareness, Prevention, and Treatment.” Infection and Drug Resistance, Dove Medical Press, 19 Aug. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4998032/
  2. Jennings, Lindsey K. “Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.” StatPearls [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 20 Nov. 2020, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499959/#
  3. “Detailed STD Facts – Pelvic Inflammatory Disease – CDC Fact Sheet.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 Nov. 2020, www.cdc.gov/std/pid/stdfact-pid-detailed.htm
  4. “Fitz Hugh Curtis Syndrome.” NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders)Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome | Genetic and Rare Diseases, rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/fitz-hugh-curtis-syndrome/

Also Read:

Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 25, 2022

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