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Cervicitis

Cervicitis | Cervix Pain | NYC Pelvic DoctorsCervicitis refers to the swelling and inflammation you may encounter when you have an infection in your cervix. The cervix is at the lower end of your uterus that includes the narrow opening into your vagina. The cervicitis infection usually is a side effect of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), but it can also occur from other non-infectious sources.

It’s possible to have cervicitis and not even know it; symptoms aren’t always apparent. Most common symptoms include changes in the discharges from your vagina or bleeding between your periods.

Series of Symptoms

Very often, you first may learn that you have cervicitis when you have your annual pap smear exam or if you have to have a biopsy taken as part of another examination.

Symptoms that may get your attention before your exam, however, may include:

  • Discharge that’s yellow, brown, or green — in large amounts and that have a foul-smelling odor
  • Pain around and in your vagina
  • Pain when you have sexual intercourse
  • Pain when you urinate
  • More frequent urination than usual
  • Bleeding after you have intercourse
  • Bleeding after you’ve undergone menopause
  • A feeling of pressure in your pelvic area

While you should make an appointment to see your gynecologist in NYC Dr. Mariz, if you have any of these symptoms, you must get in quickly if you experience a persistent discharge or have pain during sex or heavy bleeding that’s not associated with menstruation. Delaying medical treatment can encourage further complications.

Symptoms should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by your gynecologist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to exclude any serious underlying condition.

Causes of Cervicitis

Normal bacteria such as streptococcus and staphylococcus that reside in your vagina may undergo abnormal growth, which can lead to a case of cervicitis. When an STI is responsible for cervicitis, the culprit can be either bacterial or viral. STIs are transmitted most often through sexual contact.

Common STIs that lead to cervicitis include:

  • Human papilloma virus (HPV)
  • Genital warts
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia
  • Genital herpes

Furthermore, an allergic reaction can cause inflammation and swelling. An allergy to the latex found in condoms is one of the most common. Still, you also may be allergic to the materials in female hygiene products, like douches or deodorizers that target vaginal odor. Other allergic sources can include:

  • Devices inserted into your vagina for birth control, such as a diaphragm, intrauterine device, vaginal ring, or pessary
  • Some brands of spermicides used for birth control
  • Other chemical exposure

Risky Behaviors

You’re most at risk of developing cervicitis if you engage in unhealthy sexual practices. At the same time, cervicitis is a common condition that affects nearly half of all women at some point in their adult lives, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Risky behaviors that increase your odds of contracting an infection include:

  • Multiple sex partners
  • Unprotected sex
  • A history of getting STIs
  • Sexual intercourse at an early age
  • Sexual contact with others who practice risky sexual behaviors

Diagnosing the Condition

During a routine pelvic exam, your Manhattan OBGYN looks for signs of redness, swelling or inflammation, and unusual discharges. That’s when he may suspect you have an infection.

Follow-up tests to confirm the diagnosis include:

  • Specimen tests on samples of the discharge performed under a microscope
  • Blood test for sexually transmitted infections and disease
  • Urine tests
  • Specimen lab tests on other matter collected from a swab of the inside of your vagina
  • Colposcopy
  • Biopsy, although it’s rarely needed

You can assist in the diagnosis by keeping a log of your symptoms. Have it ready for your doctor at the time of your exam.

Some of the topics you need to include are:

  • A list of your sexual activities
  • When your symptoms first appeared
  • How long they’ve been present
  • Notes about other symptoms, like pain during urination
  • Whether you think you may be pregnant
  • Names of feminine hygiene products you’ve used
  • If you’ve tried over-the-counter remedies — and which kinds

Treatment Usually Successful

When the specialist caught it early, cervicitis typically responds well to treatment. The primary way to treat cervicitis is to treat the underlying cause of the infection. Antibiotics to treat an STD are used, for example, or antiviral medications to treat infections caused by herpes. Whatever kind of treatment you receive for an STI, you should share the information with your sexual partners so they too can get treatment. Otherwise, you may become re-infected.

If you’ve already gone through menopause, your doctor may suggest hormonal therapies such as progesterone or estrogen. If your cervicitis is persistent and doesn’t respond well to medication, you may need to consider other treatment options such as:

  • Laser therapy to remove infected tissues
  • Cryosurgery that involves freezing tissue before removal
  • Subjecting the infected tissue to a small probe that sends electricity to the tissue to burn it away

Complications Can Occur

Cervicitis can last for months, even years, if not treated early and adequately. Additional complications can follow since your cervix provides a barrier between your uterus and outside viruses and bacteria. There’s a genuine chance that the infection could travel into your uterus if the cervical infection persists with no appropriate treatment.

Cervicitis related to chlamydia or gonorrhea can lead to even worse complications if the abnormalities spread to your fallopian tubes or uterine lining. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is another result that can occur following a bout of cervicitis. Ultimately, you could end up infertile if you don’t receive the proper treatment. Additionally, when you have cervicitis, you are at a higher risk of getting HIV from an infected partner.

Сervicitis Prevention Important

The best way to alleviate any damage to your reproductive system is to use precautions. Remaining in a monogamous relationship, in which neither partner has outside sex, is an excellent way to prevent cervicitis. But using condoms safely and properly can be just as effective. Choose your sexual partners wisely and talk to your OBGYN NYC doctor if you have any doubts about preventing STIs.

Other steps you can take for your vaginal health include:

  • Making sure that any objects you place in your vagina are clean
  • Properly placing tampons during your period
  • Replacing tampons as directed
  • Avoiding common irritants like deodorizing tampons or douches

Symptoms should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by your gynecologist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to exclude any serious underlying condition.

Have questions about Pelvic Pain, Cervicitis, or Cervix Pain? Schedule an appointment with NYC’s top Gynecologist, Dr. Fernando Mariz, today!

Updated on Sep 7, 2021 by Dr. Fernando Mariz (Gynecologist), Manhattan Women’s Health and Wellness
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DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY The information on this website is to provide general information. The information on this website does NOT reflect definitive medical advice, and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a physician for a consultation and examination regarding any symptoms or signs you may be having. Your physician should make an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to exclude a serious condition.