Cervicitis

Specialty of Obstetrics & gynaecology

What is cervicitis?

Cervicitis is an inflammation of the cervix caused by either an infection or irritant. The cervix is the opening to the uterus, located at the top of the vagina. Cervicitis often results from STIs, but can also result from non-infectious causes. To treat cervicitis, it is important to determine the specific cause first.

What are the symptoms of cervicitis?

Women with cervicitis may not notice any symptoms. However, some women may notice the following symptoms:

  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Painful urination
  • A burning feeling
  • Frequent urges to urinate
  • Bleeding or spotting between periods
  • Bleeding after intercourse
  • Pelvic pain

If you are experiencing any of the above in combination, you should see a doctor.

What causes of cervicitis?

There are several causes of cervicitis, but infection is the most common. Cervicitis can result from:

  • STIs – bacterial or viral infections transmitted through sexual intercourse (e.g. chlamydia, gonorrhoea the genital herpes virus or trichomoniasis).
  • Bacterial imbalance – this can cause bacterial vaginosis, which can lead to cervicitis.
  • Allergic reactions – reactions to allergens can cause cervicitis (e.g. feminine hygiene products, douches, scented sanitary wear, latex condoms or spermicides).

Can cervicitis be prevented?

To avoid cervicitis certain measures can be taken, such as avoiding chemical irritants, such as douching and scented feminine hygiene products. It is also important to practice safe sex using condoms to lower your risk of contracting an STI.

What is the treatment for cervicitis?

Cervicitis is usually treated with antibiotics if it is caused by bacterial infections, such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea. Herpes infections can be treated with antivirals. If your cervicitis is caused by an allergic reaction then eliminating the irritant should cause your cervicitis to go away on its own. If you have cervicitis that has resulted from infection, it is often recommended that your partner is also treated. Additionally, if this type of cervicitis is not treated in time, an STI could affect the fallopian tubes and the uterus, but it is important to perform a pelvic examination at the onset of symptoms.

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