Unifying Concepts

CDC Diagnostic Criteria for the Diagnosis of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Minimal criteria*

  • Lower abdominal tenderness
  • Uterine/adnexal tenderness
  • Cervical motion tenderness

Additional criteria

  • Oral temperature > 38.3°C (101°F)
  • Abnormal cervical or vaginal mucopurulent discharge
  • Presence of white blood cells (WBCs) on saline microscopy of vaginal secretions
  • Elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate
  • Elevated C-reactive protein level
  • Laboratory documentation of cervical infection with Neisseria gonorrhoeae or Chlamydia trachomatis

Definitive criteria

  • Histopathologic evidence of endometritis on endometrial biopsy
  • Transvaginal sonography or magnetic resonance imaging techniques showing thickened, fluid-filled tubes with or without free pelvic fluid or tubo-ovarian complex
  • Laparoscopic abnormalities consistent with PID

PID, pelvic inflammatory disease

* Empiric treatment is indicated in sexually active women considered at risk for PID if all three findings are present.



  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines 2002.MMWR 2002;51(No. RR-6):48-52


Created: Aug 24, 2005

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