What is cervicitis?
Cervicitis is a condition when your cervix is inflamed, the lower, narrow end of your uterus that opens into the vagina. It’s possible to have cervicitis and not experience any signs or symptoms. Among the signs and symptoms women sometimes notice are bleeding between menstrual periods and changes in vaginal discharge. Cervicitis is common. It may be caused by a number of factors, including infections, chemical or physical irritations, and allergies. Often, cervicitis results from a sexually transmitted infection, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. Cervicitis can develop from noninfectious causes, too. Successful treatment of cervicitis involves treating the underlying cause of the inflammation.
It is noticed that determining the cause of cervicitis is important. If an infection is the problem, it can spread beyond the cervix to the uterus and fallopian tubes and into the pelvic and abdominal cavity and cause life-threatening infection. This may cause problems with fertility, the ability to become pregnant. Or it may cause problems with your unborn baby if you are already pregnant.
How common is cervicitis?
Cervicitis is common. Around 10 to 20 percent of Americans have too much fat in their liver, but no inflammation or damage is present. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of cervicitis?
Most often, cervicitis causes no signs and symptoms, and you may only learn you have the condition after a Pap test or a biopsy for another condition. If you do have signs and symptoms, they may include:
- Large amounts of vaginal discharge that’s green, brown or yellow and pus-like and that sometimes has an unpleasant odor
- Frequent, painful urination
- Pain during intercourse
- Vaginal bleeding after intercourse, not associated with a menstrual period
When should I see my doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes cervicitis?
Some certain causes can bring about this condition.
Severe cases of inflammation are usually caused by infections that are passed during sexual activity.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that may cause cervicitis include:
- Genital herpes
- Mycoplasma and ureaplasma
But many women with cervicitis don’t test positive for any type of infection. Other causes of the inflammation may include:
Allergies to chemicals in spermicides, douches, or to the latex rubber in condoms
Irritation or injury from tampons, pessaries, or from birth control devices like diaphragms
Bacterial imbalance; normal, healthy bacteria in the vagina are overwhelmed by unhealthy or harmful bacteria. This is also called bacterial vaginosis.
Hormonal imbalance; having relatively low estrogen or high progesterone may interfere with the body’s ability to maintain healthy cervical tissue.
Cancer or cancer treatment; rarely, radiation therapy or cancer may cause changes to the cervix consistent with cervicitis.
What increases my risk for cervicitis?
There are many risk factors for cervicitis, such as:
- Engage in high-risk sexual behavior, such as unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners or sex with someone who engages in high-risk behaviors
- Began having sexual intercourse at an early age
- Have a history of sexually transmitted infections
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is cervicitis diagnosed?
If your doctor suspects you have this disorder, a mental physical examination will be performed.
Diagnosis of this condition is typically based on:
- A pelvic exam
During this exam, your doctor checks your pelvic organs for areas of swelling and tenderness. He or she also may place a speculum in your vagina to view the upper part of the vagina and the cervix.
- A specimen collection
In a process similar to a Pap test, your doctor uses a small cotton swab or a brush to gently remove a sample of cervical and vaginal fluid. Your doctor sends the sample to a lab to test for infections. Lab tests also may be performed on a urine sample.
How is cervicitis treated?
You may not need treatment for cervicitis caused by something other than a sexually transmitted infection (STI). If you have cervicitis caused by an STI, both you and your partner are likely to need treatment.
Prescription medications often can clear up the inflammation of cervicitis. Your treatment may include:
- An antibiotic medication, for a bacterial infection such as gonorrhea or chlamydia.
- An antiviral medication, for a viral infection such as genital herpes. However, antiviral medication doesn’t cure herpes, which is a chronic condition and may be passed on to your partner at any time.
Your doctor may recommend repeat testing for cervicitis caused by gonorrhea or chlamydia.
To avoid passing a bacterial infection along to your partner, abstain from sexual intercourse until you’re finished with the treatment recommended by your doctor.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage cervicitis?
To reduce your risk of cervicitis from sexually transmitted infections, you should:
- Have your partner always use condoms during sex.
- Limit the number of people you have sex with.
- Don’t have sex with a partner who has genital sores or penile discharge.
- If you get treatment for a sexually transmitted disease, ask your doctor if your partner should also be treated.
- Don’t use feminine hygiene products. These may cause irritation of your vagina and cervix.
- If you have diabetes, try to maintain good control of your blood sugar.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: August 9, 2017 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019