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Does Bacterial Vaginosis Cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?

Taylor, Brandie DePaoli PhD, MPH*; Darville, Toni MD; Haggerty, Catherine L. PhD, MPH*

doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e31827c5a5b

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), the infection and inflammation of the female genital tract, results in serious reproductive morbidity including infertility and ectopic pregnancy. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a complex alteration of the vaginal flora that has been implicated in PID. The role of BV in the etiology and pathogenesis of PID has not been studied extensively. Our objective was to extensively review data related to the relationship between BV and PID (n = 19 studies). Several studies found a link between BV and cervicitis, endometritis, and salpingitis. Furthermore, it seems that some BV-associated organisms are associated with PID, whereas others are not. However, studies demonstrating an independent association between BV-associated organisms and PID are sparse. In addition, a causal association between BV and PID has not been established. Prospective studies are needed to further delineate the role of BV in PID, with particular focus on individual BV-associated organisms.

Studies have found a link between bacterial vaginosis and pelvic inflammatory disease. However, a causal association between bacterial vaginosis and pelvic inflammatory disease has not been established.

From the *Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, and †Department of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA

Disclosure: The authors report no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Brandie DePaoli Taylor, PhD, MPH, Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, 130 Desoto St, 513 Parran Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15261. E-mail:

Received for publication May 2, 2012, and accepted November 2, 2012.

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