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The cervix is the narrow, lower part of the uterus that joins at the top part of the vagina. It is long, conical in shape. It helps the sperm to travel to and menstrual fluid to travel from the uterus. It is often affected by a condition called cervicitis. Experts claim, almost half of all women suffer from cervicitis at some point of their life.

What is Cervicitis?

The inflammation of the cervix is called as cervicitis. The condition can be acute, that is, occurs suddenly or can be chronic, that is, lasts for more than a month.

Acute cervicitis is often seen in women who suffer from infection such as gonorrhea, chlamydia or herpes. Chronic cervicitis occurs in women after childbirth. It is also seen in women who use oral contraceptives, tampons, etc.

What Causes Cervicitis?

Cervicitis helps keep bacteria and viruses away from the uterus. When bacteria and viruses cause infection of the vagina, they can travel up to the cervix. This happens as a result of sexually transmitted diseases such as:

  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Genital herpes

At times, when the normal bacterial flora of the vagina overgrows, it can also lead to cervicitis.Some women suffer from an allergic reaction to the latex in condoms or use of tampons. Any injury during sex or childbirth can also lead to cervicitis.

Symptoms of Cervicitis

Most women never develop any symptoms of cervicitis. Symptoms if any include:

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Spotting between menstrual periods
  • Pain during or after intercourse
  • Spotting after sex
  • Infection of the urethra
  • In some cases, pain or burning during urination

Diagnosis of Cervicitis

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Cervicitis is often detected during a pelvic examination, that is, internal exam. The doctor may find presence of blood and pus on the tip of the cervix. To confirm, a swab of the cervix is taken and tested in the lab. Other tests such as a blood test, vaginal swab, etc. may be conducted to check for the cause of inflammation.

Treatment for Cervicitis

Cervicitis requires treatment as it is usually causedby sexually transmitted diseases in most cases.It is treated with antibiotics. These antibiotics help in the treatment of the sexually transmitted infection as well as clear off the inflammation of the cervix. One should avoid sex when they suffer frominflammation of the cervix, as it can pass on to the partner.

How Long does Cervicitis Last?

Cevicitis in its mild form lasts till the course of the medication prescribed. Severe cervicitis may take a month or more to heal completely. If left untreated, it may spread to the uterus and Fallopian tube leading to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This may lead to infertility in some women.

One can prevent cervicitis, by having one sexual partner. Multiple partners, increases the chances of sexually transmitted diseases as well as cervicitis. If one finds they are allergic to the latex of the condoms, they should use other methods of contraception. Speak to your healthcare provider for more details.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: March 15, 2015