Cervicitis is swelling (inflammation) of the end of the uterus (cervix).
Cervicitis is most often caused by an infection, usually caught during sexual activity. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that can cause cervicitis include:
Cervicitis may sometimes be caused by:
Cervicitis is very common, affecting more than half of all women at some point during their adult life. Risks include:
Bacteria (such as staphylococcus and streptococcus) and too much growth of normal bacteria in the vagina (bacterial vaginosis) can also cause cervicitis.
Note: There may be no symptoms, so it is recommended that certain women be tested for chlamydia, even if they do not have symptoms.
A pelvic examination may show:
Rarely, colposcopy and biopsy of the cervix is necessary.
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:
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).
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of cervicitis.
Here are some ways to reduce your risk of cervicitis:
Cervical inflammation; Inflammation - cervix
Eckert LO, Lentz GM. Infections of the lower genital tract: Vulva, vagina, cervix, toxic shock syndrome, HIV infections. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 2
Zeimet A, McBride DR, Basilan R, Roland WE, McCrary D, Hoonmo K. Infectious diseases. In: Rakel RE, ed. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 16.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2010. MMWR 2010;59(No. RR-12)
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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