Cervicitis is swelling (inflammation) of the end of the uterus (
Cervical inflammation; Inflammation – cervix
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Cervicitis is most often caused by an infection, usually caught during sexual activity. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that can cause cervicitis include:
- Herpes virus (
- Human papilloma virus (
genital warts) Trichomoniasis
Cervicitis may sometimes be caused by:
A device inserted into the pelvic area such as:
- Cervical cap
- Device to support the uterus (pessary)
Allergy to spermicides used for birth control
Allery to latex in condoms
Exposure to a chemical
Cervicitis is very common, affecting more than half of all women at some point during their adult life. Risks include:
- High-risk sexual behavior
- History of STIs
- Many sexual partners
- Sex (intercourse) at an early age
- Sexual partners who have engaged in high-risk sexual behavior or have had an STI
Bacteria (such as staphylococcus and streptococcus) and too much growth of normal bacteria in the vagina (bacterial vaginosis) can also cause cervicitis.
Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- After intercourse
- Between periods
- Does not go away
- Gray, white, or yellow color
- May have an odor
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Pain in the vagina
- Pressure or heaviness in the pelvis
Note: There may be no symptoms, so it is recommended that certain women be tested for chlamydia, even if they do not have symptoms.
Signs and tests
A pelvic examination may show:
Discharge from the cervix
Redness of the cervix
Swelling (inflammation) of the walls of the vagina
Inspectionof the discharge under a microscope (may show candidiasis, trichomoniasis, or bacterial vaginosis) Pap smear
- Tests for gonorrhea or chlamydia
Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and others. Drugs called antivirals may be used to treat herpes infections.
Hormonal therapy (with estrogen or progesterone) may be used in women who have reached menopause (postmenopausal).
When these treatments have not worked or when cervicitis has been present for a long time, treatment may include:
- Cryosurgery (freezing)
Simple cervicitis usually heals with treatment if the cause is found and there is a treatment for that cause.
Cervicitis can last for months or years.
Cervicitis may last for months to years. Cervicitis may lead to pain with intercourse (dyspareunia).
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of cervicitis.
Here are some ways to reduce your risk of cervicitis:
chemical irritantssuch as douches and deodorant tampons.
Make sure that any foreign objects you insert into your vagina (such as tampons) are placed properly. Be sure to follow instructions on how long to leave it inside, how often to change it, or how often to clean it.
Not having sexual intercourse (abstinence) is the only absolute method of preventing sexually transmitted cervicitis. A monogamous sexual relationship with someone who is known to be free of any STI can reduce the risk. Monogamous means you and your partner do not have sex with any other people. See:
You can greatly lower your risk of catching an STI by using a condom every time you have sex. Condoms are available for both men and women, but are most commonly worn by the man. A condom must be used properly every time.
Condoms Female condoms Safe sex