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What is cervicitis?

Cervicitis, sometimes called non-specific cervicitis or NSC, is inflammation of the cervix (the neck of the womb) that may cause vaginal discharge.

Cervicitis is common and causes of cervicitis include bacteria and sexually transmitted infections.


Female Reproductive System

Determining the cause of cervicitis is important. If an infection is the problem, it can spread beyond the cervix to the uterus and fallopian tubes. This may cause problems with fertility - the ability to become pregnant. Or it may cause problems with your unborn baby if you are already pregnant.

Here's what you need to know about symptoms, causes, risk factors, tests, diagnosis and treatment of cervicitis.

What is cervicitis?

Cervicitis is inflammation of the cervix, which can be due to:

  • Irritation
  • Infection
  • Injury of cells that line the cervix

These irritated or infected cells may become red, swollen, and ooze mucus and pus. They may also bleed easily when touched.

What causes cervicitis?

Severe cases of inflammation are usually caused by infections that are passed during sexual activity.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that may cause cervicitis include:

But many women with cervicitis don't test positive for any type of infection. Other causes of the inflammation may include:

Symptoms of cervicitis

Many women with cervicitis don't have any symptoms. The condition may be discovered only after a routine examination or test.

Signs and symptoms, if present, may include:

Risk factors for cervicitis

You may be at greater risk of cervicitis if you:

  • Had recent sexual intercourse without a condom.
  • Recently had multiple sexual partners.
  • Had cervicitis before.

Studies show that cervicitis will recur in 8% to 25% of women who get it.

Diagnosing cervicitis

If your doctor suspects you have cervicitis, he or she may do a pelvic examination. This lets the doctor get a closer look of the cervix.

The doctor will probably also swab the cervix to collect vaginal fluids or to see how easily it bleeds.

Your doctor will also probably ask questions about your sexual history. The doctor will want to know:

  • The number of partners you've had in the last 60 days.
  • Whether or not you've had sex without a condom.
  • The kind of contraception you used.

Even if you don't have specific symptoms of cervicitis, your doctor will perform a routine examination to look for cervicitis if he or she thinks you are at risk of an STI or you have other symptoms of a possible gynaecological problem.

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