Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a clinical syndrome that causes pain and soreness in the pelvic region for women. Typically the condition is caused by an infection of a woman’s pelvic organs: the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and peritoneum (the membrane that covers the abdominal cavity) (1). People contract PID when bacteria reach the females reproductive organs via her vagina or cervix. (2). While sexually transmitted infections (STI) such as chlamydia and gonorrhea are common causes of PID, cervicitis is also a cause of PID as bacteria that normally inhabit the vaginal area can also move up into a woman’s reproductive organs and inflict Pelvic inflammatory disease (3). As such, PID is actually quite common and if you have it, you really should try out our home remedies for pelvic Inflammatory disease alongside your doctor’s advice.
Symptoms of Pelvic Inflammatory disease in females
As pelvic inflammatory disease can be transmitted via sexual intercourse due to STI pathogens, many people think that the condition is experienced by both women and men. However, the fact remains that men cannot contract PID because it is caused by an infection of the female pelvic organs.
Because the disease can be due to sexual activity, PID is most common in sexually active women from 15-25 years old. Men can carry the sexually transmitted pathogens, but cannot themselves contract PID.
Since there are no medical tests for PID, pelvic inflammatory disease diagnosis only happens due to the presence and severity of the symptoms. Acute PID is a more sudden and severe affliction, while chronic PID is milder and less severe.
The most common PID symptom is a pain in the lower abdomen; other symptoms include a fever higher than 100.4° F; pain during sexual intercourse; pain during urination; vaginal discharge that emits a bad odor; irregular periods or heavy menstrual bleeding; pain in the upper and/or lower abdomen (4).
Immediate treatment after diagnosis is crucial to prevent the long-term complications caused by PID, such as infertility, long-term pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy, and the formation of scar tissue inside and outside the fallopian tubes (6).
Home remedies for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
A natural treatment plan for PID can consist of various home remedies alongside the conventional treatment plan prescribed by doctors (7).
Do, however, be sure to consult your doctor’s PID treatment guidelines when designing your supplementary treatment plan. Here are the various ways in which you can help your body fight against PID and recover fully from the infection:
- Diet rich in calcium and antioxidants
Consuming a healthy and nutritious diet is the first step in helping your body recover from bacterial infections responsible for PID.
You will want to consume foods that are rich in calcium, such as dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, broccoli, beans, and almonds (9). Dairy products and milk are usually the best sources of calcium, but you may have to rely on plant sources if you happen to have an allergy to them.
Antioxidant-rich foods such as blueberries, cherries, tomatoes, squash and bell pepper will also aid the recovery process by virtue of their anti-inflammatory properties (10).
You can access a wide range of antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, selenium, and carotenoids (e.g. beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin) by consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables (11).
- A Daily Multivitamin
Since high-doses of antioxidant supplements have been linked to health risks and may interact with certain medicines, it would be best to obtain antioxidants from natural substances (12).
If you are unable to obtain sufficient nutrients through your diet, however, you should rely on a daily multivitamin that contains vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, and minute quantities of minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, and selenium.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Likewise, omega-3 fatty acids can also help to reduce inflammation. You can rely on fish oil capsules (1 to 2 capsules per day), or obtain omega-3 fatty acids from food sources such as flax seeds, chia seeds, salmon, beef, walnuts, tofu and sardine (13).
- Probiotic supplement (which contains Lactobacillus acidophilus)
- Grapefruit seed oil (Citrus paradisi)
Consuming a 100 mg capsule of grapefruit seed oil per day (or 5 to 10 liquid drops in your preferred drink) will help boost your immune system and fight inflammation with its antibacterial properties (15).
- Green tea (Camellia sinensis)
- Cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa)
Its antibacterial and antifungal activity will help with inflammation but do consult your doctor if you are taking blood pressure medications, or if you have leukemia or an autoimmune disease (17). Take a 20 mg standardized extract three times each day.
- Bromelain (Ananus comosus)
Taking a 40 mg standardized extract thrice per day can help your body cope with the pain and inflammation (18). Bromelain can be also be consumed by eating pineapple. However, do consult your doctor if you are also taking blood-thinning medication such as aspirin.
- Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum)
Reishi mushroom will also be helpful in boosting immunity and fighting inflammation. Take a 150 to 300 mg extract 2-3 times each day. But as with bromelain, do consult your doctor if you are also taking blood-thinning medication such as aspirin (19).
- Olive leaf (Olea europaea)
Likewise, olive leaf also boasts of antibacterial activity and immunity-boosting properties. You can either consume a 250 to 500 mg standardized extract 1 to 3 times each a day, or brew teas. Do consult your doctor if you have low blood sugar levels or low blood pressure (20).
- Castor oil
Castor oil packs are a traditional remedy that can help reduce cramping and pain and can help with chronic PID (a less severe infection that usually only causes mild pain and backache) (21). This home remedy is not suitable for acute PID.
All you need to do is dampen a piece of cloth in castor oil, and then place it on your abdomen.
After covering the cloth with saran wrap, place a heating pad on it for 30 minutes (or for 3 hours if no heating pad is used). Using castor oil packs for more than three days in a row is not advised, so stay off the treatment for a day before resuming this home remedy.
Garlic has long been known for its anti-bacterial properties and is an effective home remedy to treat bacterial caused vaginal discharge and vaginitis. It is also an effective home remedy for pelvic inflammatory disease. (22).
For treatment of PID, you can either consume one or two raw garlic cloves along with a glass of water the first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Or you can add as much garlic as you can stomach to your cooking.
For a topical application, crush several cloves into a fine paste and gently fry in vegetable oil until golden. Strain the garlic oil and allow to cool.
When cool, soak cotton balls in the oil and place in the vagina. Remove the balls, leaving the oil behind and allow to rest for a few hours before rinsing with water. Repeat every day until the infection passes.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is one of the effective home remedies for curing vaginal infections as it combats antimicrobial and antifungal pathogens (23). Also, apple cider vinegar is great for balancing your pH levels.
To apply, by far the most comfortable treatment for PID is to use the vinegar in the bath. Add three large cups of vinegar to your bath water and soak for at least 20 minutes. Follow this for four to five times in a week.
You can also drink an 8:1 cup of water vinegar solution every day or apply the diluted apple cider vinegar directly to the vagina insides.
- Baking Soda
Baking soda is an effective treatment for pelvic inflammatory disease. It treats imbalanced pH levels, gets rid of the foul smell of vaginal discharge. Add one or two teaspoons of baking soda to a glass of water and drink daily.
Baking soda can also be used to treat PID in the bath. Add a cup of baking soda to your bathwater and soak for 30 minutes or so. This is one of the best PID remedies if you are concerned by vaginal discharge.
Ginger is another herbal remedy that has strong antimicrobial properties. It can be used for a variety of health issues including the problems of unwanted discharge from the vaginal area. Its anti-bacterial properties will also help fight the PID infection
Get two teaspoons of dry ginger powder, add it to 250 ml of water, and boil it till the water is reduced to half. Drink the solution on a daily basis until the infection has cleared.
Since turmeric has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, its powder is can also be used to treat bacterial infections of the vagina, excess vaginal discharge and in particular, PID.
Take one tablespoon of turmeric powder and gently simmer the powder in some milk. Drink at least one glass a day.
Maintain a healthy diet with ample amounts of fruits and vegetables
If you have cervicitis, this is often a precursor to PID. Regularly screen your cervix
Stay hydrated throughout each day, with filtered water and green tea
Consume extracts of herbs with antibacterial properties
Consume foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Take a probiotic supplement to boost your gut health and immunity
Animal-based cooking oil such as lard or butter should be substituted for healthy plant-based alternatives like olive oil or coconut oil (8).
Avoid alcohol, coffee, tobacco and other stimulants
Avoid all foods that trigger an allergy
Avoid junk and processed food as much as possible, especially products with trans fatty acids