Monday, March 3, 2008

What Can Be Done About Pelvic Inflammatory Disease In Women?

What can be done about pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)? From the standpoint of holistic, natural, and complementary therapy, the answer is, a lot. And many natural remedies for PID cost little or nothing at all.

The pain of PID often can be relieved by a sitz bath. It would be ideal to use two different bidets or two different tubs, but women with PID can get some relief just by alternating a cold (or lukewarm) water soak with a hot water soak in the tub.

It isn't necessary to fill the whole tub with water, although this is also OK. As little as about one inch (2-3 cm) in the tub is enough to help. The cold bath should be between 55 and 85 degrees F (12-30 degrees C), and the hot bath should be between 105 and 115 degrees F (40 and 45 degrees C). Soak in the cold bath just 30 seconds, and in the hot bath 3 minutes, alternating as often as you can.

Certain nutrients nurture the lining of the cervix and prevent reinfection, while at least one nutrient actually makes reinfection more likely.

First, the nutrient to avoid. Iron is just as necessary to the infectious microorganisms that cause PID as it is to the women who are infected. Iron helps bacteria "take root" in the cervix. Avoid iron supplements unless they are prescribed by your doctor.

Now, the nutrients that help. Beta-carotene (preferably from foods, like carrots, pumpkins, or acorn squash) helps the cells of the cervix resist reinfection with the bacteria associated with PID and also helps them resist HPV (human papillomavirus).

It's also important to avoid deficiencies of vitamin C, whether by eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, or by taking at least 160 mg of vitamin C a day. Vitamin C helps the lining of the cervix make the collagen "glue" that holds cells together and prevents infection.

In general, diets that are high in calories but low in vegetables, constipation, and smoking are more common in women who have PID than in women who do not. Cutting down on calories, treating constipation, and cutting back (or stopping) smoking will generally relieve PID symptoms over the long run.

You may also be interested in FAQs About PID-Related Health Problems and Chlamydia for Women.


Bartoletti R, Mondaini N, Pavone C, Dinelli N, Prezioso D. Introduction to chronic prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS). Arch Ital Urol Androl. 2007 Jun;79(2):55-7.

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