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Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Symptoms of Pelvic Infection

Symptoms of Pelvic Infection

Topic Overview

Abnormal vaginal bleeding with fever may be caused by an infection in the pelvic organs. During your period, bacteria can travel up the vagina into the uterus and fallopian tubes and cause an infection. This is more common during menstruation but can occur at any time during your menstrual cycle.

Symptoms of pelvic infection may include:

  • Pelvic pain, especially during intercourse.
  • Bad-smelling vaginal discharge.
  • Bleeding between periods.
  • Fever.

Pelvic infections are usually caused by bacteria. It is important to treat pelvic infections right away to:

  • Prevent scarring of the fallopian tubes. Scarring of the fallopian tubes increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy and can cause infertility.
  • Prevent infection from spreading to other parts of the body.
  • Reduce the risk of passing the infection to your partner.

Sexually active women, especially those who have more than one sex partner, are more likely to have pelvic infections. And the risk for infection is increased if you:

  • Have had an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted within the past 3 months.
  • Have a previous history of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
  • Have had sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Have cancer or receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
  • Have diabetes.
  • Are HIV-positive.
  • Use steroids.

Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare and serious condition that has been linked to tampon use. An important symptom of TSS is a rash that looks like a sunburn that develops within 2 days of the onset of a fever of 102°F (38.9°C) or higher. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle aches, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, profound weakness, confusion, and signs of shock. Immediate medical care is needed if toxic shock syndrome is suspected.

If you have symptoms of a pelvic infection, do not have sexual intercourse until you see your doctor. This will reduce the risk of spreading a possible infection to your partner.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

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Related Links

Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding Sexually Transmitted Infections

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