Cervicitis

Definition

Cervicitis is swelling or inflamed tissue of the end of the uterus (cervix).

Causes

Cervicitis is most often caused by an infection that is caught during sexual activity. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that can cause cervicitis include:

Other things that can cause cervicitis include:

Cervicitis is very common. It affects more than one half of all women at some point during their adult life. Causes include:

Too much growth of some bacteria that normally are present in the vagina (bacterial vaginosis) can also lead to cervical infection.

Symptoms

There may be no symptoms. If symptoms are present, these may include:

Women who may be at risk for chlamydia should be tested for this infection, even if they do not have symptoms.

Exams and Tests

A pelvic exam is done to look for:

Tests that may be done include:

Rarely, colposcopy and biopsy of the cervix is necessary.

Treatment

Antibiotics are used to treat chlamydia or gonorrhea. Medicines called antivirals may be used to treat herpes infections.

Hormonal therapy (with estrogen or progesterone) may be used in women who have reached menopause.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Most of the time, simple cervicitis usually heals with treatment if the cause is found and there is a treatment for that cause.

Most of the time, cervicitis does not cause any symptoms. It doesn't need treatment as long as tests for bacterial and viral causes are negative.

Possible Complications

Cervicitis may last for months to years. Cervicitis may lead to pain with intercourse.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of cervicitis.

Prevention

Things you can do to reduce your risk of developing cervicitis include:


Review Date: 1/14/2018
Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Center for Fertility, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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