PID can be difficult for your health care provider to diagnose because symptoms can be subtle and mild and similar to those of some other diseases. If you think you might have PID, you should get medical care promptly because early treatment can limit long-term complications such as infertility and chronic pelvic pain.
If you have symptoms such as lower abdominal pain, your health care provider will perform a physical exam, including a pelvic (internal) exam, to find out the nature and location of the pain. Your health care provider also will check for
Abnormal vaginal or cervical discharge
Masses near your ovaries and tubes
Tenderness or pain of your abdomen, cervix, uterus, and ovaries
Health experts have found that about 70 percent and 50 percent of chlamydial and gonococcal infections, respectively, are asymptomatic (without symptoms) in women. These infections were found first through screening. You should get regular laboratory tests for chlamydia, gonorrhea, urinary tract infection, and if appropriate, pregnancy. Your health care provider may suggest these tests as part of a routine annual exam as well as tests for HIV infection and syphilis.
If necessary, your health care provider may do other tests such as an ultrasound (sonogram), endometrial (uterine) biopsy, or laparoscopy to distinguish between PID and other serious problems that can mimic PID. Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure in which a tube is inserted through a small incision near your navel. This allows your health care provider to view the internal abdominal and pelvic organs and to take specimens to examine in the laboratory.