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What Are The First Symptoms Of Pelvic Infection & How Do You Test For It?

Most cases of pelvic infections are asymptomatic and, in some instances, you mistake your symptoms for a different illness, but vaginal discharge/bleeding accompanied by fever and chills are common symptoms of pelvic infections 1, 2.

Diagnosis of pelvic infection is usually based on your symptom and a gynecological examination.3

Your doctor will check your pelvic region for tenderness and swelling and suggest for urine or blood test, pregnancy test, and an ultrasound scan for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and other infections. 4

What Are The First Symptoms Of Pelvic Infection?

Bacteria entering the reproductive tract, vagina, cervix, and uterus often cause pelvic inflammations. Numerous females do not recognize they have pelvic infections since they do not experience any signs or symptoms because, in some instances, the symptoms can be minor and acute. Common symptoms of pelvic infections include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the pelvis and lower abdomen is the classic symptom of pelvic infection
  • Fever with a temperature higher than 101 F and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting, with helplessness to control yourself
  • STDs can inflame your urethra, causing a burning sensation when you pee
  • heavy vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor
  • irregular menstrual cycle
  • Severe menstrual cramps, unrelieved with NSAIDs

The pelvic inflammatory disorder can produce insignificant or moderate discomfort. But some women have a sensation of pressure or pain in the pelvis with heavy menstrual bleeding that lasts longer than 7 days.  You must seek medical attention if you have these symptoms. 1, 2

How Do You Test For Pelvic Infection?

If you have indications of pelvic infection, your doctor will perform a pelvic exam and take swabs to exam for sexually transmitted contagions. Some symptoms can also be signs of other serious conditions. There’s no single examination for identifying pelvic infection disease so your doctor will most likely run certain tests to identify whether you have a pelvic infection or not.

  • Pelvic Exam
  • Endocervical culture
  • Urine test 3

If these diagnosis does not yield suitable results, the following may be done.

Laparoscopy– This is an invaluable tool and the current criterion standard for the diagnosis of pelvic infection

Ultrasound– The classic findings of acute pelvic infection are performed through transvaginal ultrasound. This imaging modality of choice help to distinguish acute from chronic abnormalities in the fallopian tubes.

Endometrial Biopsy– This is a less invasive procedure than laparoscopy to identify the presence of neutrophils and plasma cells in the endometrium and to find the cause of irregular or heavy bleeding. This is typically performed in women aged 35 and above.

Culdocentesis– This has been vital in the diagnosis of a ruptured ectopic rather simple procedure for finding hemoperitoneum that precedes high‐resolution ultrasonography. 4

No single test can diagnose or define if you have a pelvic infection, it is generally diagnosed based on physical examinations and your symptoms. Your doctor will also check for the clinical history and ask about sexual relationships to begin with the diagnosis.

Pelvic infection occurs when an infection spreads from the vagina to the cervix and is the most common serious infection among young women. The infection typically affects sexually active women during their childbearing years in sexual transmission.

The infection can also occur after a ruptured (burst) appendix or a bowel infection. Pelvic infection when left untreated often causes problems from getting prenatal, complications during gestation, and lasting pelvic agony. Pelvic infection is one of the major causes of hospitalization in young women leading to thousands of surgical procedures due to problems from the inflammation.


  1. “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.htm
  2. “Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): Symptoms, Treatments & Causes.” What pelvic inflammatory disease symptoms should I look for? Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9129-pelvic-inflammatory-disease-pid
  3. NHS Choices, How do I get tested or treated for PID? NHS, www.nhs.uk/conditions/pelvic-inflammatory-disease-pid/diagnosis/
  4. “How Do I Know If I Have Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/women/guide/do-i-have-pelvic-inflammatory-disease

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 14, 2021

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