Cervicitis is swelling (inflammation) of the end of the uterus (cervix).
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 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. Women who may be at risk for chlamydia should be tested for this infection, even if they do not have symptoms
A pelvic exam is done to look for:
Tests that may be done include:
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.
When these treatments have not worked or when cervicitis has been present for a long time, treatment may include:
Most of the time, simple cervicitis usually heals with treatment if the cause is found and there is a treatment for that cause.
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.
Things you can do to reduce your risk of cervicitis include:
Cervical inflammation; Inflammation - cervix
Eckert LO, Lentz GM. Infections of the lower genital tract In: Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Katz VL, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 23.
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: 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, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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