Cervicitis is when the cervix becomes inflamed. The cervix is the lower-end of the uterus that connects directly to the vagina. A common condition, the main issue with cervicitis is trying to determine exactly what is causing the inflammation to occur.
Several different factors can lead to cervix inflammation, including:
- Chemical irritants
- Physical irritations
And all of these factors can be caused by a variety of factors. An internal infection, which may be caused by an STD or poor hygiene, can cause this condition as well as an allergic reaction to a latex condom, for example. Even pants that are too tight and rub against the vagina can cause irritation and eventual swelling of the cervix.
It’s essential that any woman that has cervicitis promptly gets to condition examined because if it’s infectious, the infection can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes, and all the way up into the abdominal cavity. If this were to occur, the infection could potentially be life-threatening. You may also suffer from fertility-related problems, or if the infection spreads, it can cause development or health-related issues with your unborn baby.
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4 Cervicitis Causes
We’ve already slightly discussed what may cause this condition to develop, but it’s important to know more about the underlying cause in order to get proper treatment.
1. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
Many STDs can cause severe cases of inflammation. The most common STDs that can cause this condition, include:
- Genital Herpes
But many women that have this condition will be happy to know that there are several other reasons for cervicitis.
2. Allergic Reactions
Allergic reactions can cause inflammation of the cervix, and there are many different types of irritants:
Since the cervix comes after the vagina, penetration is typically needed for an allergic reaction to occur.
- Diaphragms (birth control)
Removing the irritant will allow the condition to heal much faster, and it should go away within a matter of days.
4. Medical Conditions
Several medical-related conditions can cause cervicitis. While there are numerous conditions, the most common include:
- Hormonal imbalances that may interfere with the body’s natural maintenance of cervical tissue.
- Bacterial vaginosis where unhealthy or harmful bacteria overwhelm the healthy bacteria in the vagina.
- Cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy, can cause the cervix to become inflamed.
Unless you know that the inflammation was caused after you started using a different condom type or after you started douching, it is essential that you go to the doctor and have a thorough exam performed. This may just be the first sign of a serious medical condition, or it may be an STD that you did not know you had.
Cervicitis Signs and Symptoms
What is cervix inflammation and what symptoms accompany this condition? Luckily, for most women, they will not notice any symptoms. This means that unless you go get a routine exam, you may not know that you have cervicitis at all.
When a woman does have symptoms, they will normally include one or a combination of the following:
- Vaginal discharge that is grayish or pale yellow.
- Abnormal pain during sexual intercourse.
- Vaginal bleeding that is considered abnormal. This would consist of bleeding after sex or after a normal period.
- Urination that is difficult, painful or frequent.
- In very rare cases, a fever may develop.
- Pelvic or abdominal pain is rare, but may exist.
Contrary to popular belief, most women will not be able to tell that they have this condition. Unless you went to see a doctor, it is unlikely that you will experience any of the symptoms above. If you do experience the symptoms above, it is urgent that you go and see a doctor immediately.
If the condition is caused by infection, proper treatment will be needed to ensure that the infection does not spread.
Any woman that has had this condition in the past has a 8% to 25% chance of it reoccurring.
A proper diagnosis is needed to determine the underlying cause of your condition, and this can only be done by a trained medical professional. Your doctor will likely conduct a pelvic exam so that they can get a closer look at your cervix.
And your doctor will likely swab the cervix to see how easily it bleeds and to collect vaginal fluids for testing.
Women also need to be prepared to discuss their sexual history with their doctor. You will likely be asked questions, such as:
- How many partners you have had in the last two months?
- Do you engage in sexual intercourse without a condom?
- If you engage in safe sex, the type of contraception used will also be questioned.
These questions are important because they will be able to determine if further testing is needed. If you have had multiple partners or engaged in unprotected sex, there is a higher risk that you have an STD.
If contraception is used, the risk of an STD is lessened, and it is also possible that you’ve had an allergic reaction as a result.
In the event that there is an infection, your doctor will likely take a blood test for further testing.
Women will always be tested for this condition during a routine exam if you are:
- At a higher risk of an STD.
- You are pregnant.
Testing for this condition will typically consist of a swab to check for any discharge that has occurred. Your physician will also look for swelling and tenderness as well as abnormal bleeding. Vaginal fluid will be collected and tested in the lab to look for any viruses or bacteria in the fluid.
If there is bacteria in the fluid, this may or may not be caused by cervicitis.
Treatment will be determined by the cause of your condition. In most cases, no treatment is needed unless a sexually transmitted infection has occurred. The main goal, if an infection is present, is to stop the infection before it spreads.
Following routine testing, your doctor will determine what organism is causing the infection, and you may be prescribed with one of the following:
- Antiviral medications.
- Antifungal medications.
Doctors will likely recommend that your sexual partner be examined as well. This is very important as it will work as a preventative method so that you do not get an infection again. If you are diagnosed with this condition, it is important to know that you are not allowed to have sexual intercourse until the treatment has finished.
Anyone that has HIV must take the utmost caution at this time. Since HIV reduces your immune system, you are at a higher risk of serious complications. Cervicitis will cause increased shedding from the cervix, which means that your partner may be at a higher risk of becoming infected with HIV.
In the event that your condition does not respond to treatment, you must be reevaluated by your doctor immediately.
Doctors do not recommend nonprescription treatments. Many of the homeopathic methods, such as douching or using yogurt to correct the issue simply do not work. In the vast majority of cases, these homemade treatments will cause the symptoms to worsen, exasperating the issue. Over-the-counter products will also not be able to help alleviate this issue, and are ill advised.