What is Cervicitis?

Cervicitis is an inflammation of the cervix, the lower, narrow end of the uterus that connects the uterus to the vagina. The inflammation may be localized or diffuse. The cause of the inflammation may include bacterial, viral or fungal infections, sexually transmitted diseases, foreign bodies, chemical irritants, hormonal changes or autoimmune disorders.

Symptoms of Cervicitis

The most common symptom of cervicitis is abnormal vaginal discharge, especially one that has an abnormal odor, is bloody (may be dark or bright red), or is a change from the usual thickness, frequency, or color of one's discharge. Other common symptoms include spotting between periods, pain when urinating, vaginal itching, burning, and pain during sex.

Diagnosis of Cervicitis

To diagnose cervicitis, a doctor may take a sample of the discharge, which is then examined under a microscope to look for infection, including those caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. A pelvic exam may also be done and may reveal redness, swelling, or tenderness in the cervix. Other tests may include a Pap test or coloscopy.

Treatment of Cervicitis

Treatment for cervicitis depends on the cause of the inflammation. When a bacterial infection is present, antibiotics may be prescribed. If the infection is caused by a virus, such as herpes or human papillomavirus (HPV), antiviral medications may be prescribed. When caused by a fungus, antifungal medications may be prescribed. If the cause is related to an autoimmune disorder, treatments such as oral steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed.

Complications of Cervicitis

If left untreated, cervicitis can lead to health complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and an increased risk of contracting other sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV. In some cases, it can also lead to abnormal cervical cells that could create cancer.

Preventive Measures of Cervicitis

  • Using protection when having sex, including condoms and dental dams.
  • Limiting the number of sexual partners.
  • Getting tested for STDs if there is any suspicion of infection.
  • Having regular Pap tests.
  • Ensuring partners are tested for STDs.
  • Adopting good hygiene practices.