Cervicitis is an inflammation of the cervix, and is probably the most common of all gynecological disorders. It affects almost half of all women at some point in their lives.
Often there are no symptoms and cervicitis is discovered during a routine Pap test or a biopsy done for another condition. When symptoms are present, they are often confused with the symptoms for vaginitis. The most common cervicitis symptoms include:
- Pain during intercourse
- Grayish or yellow vaginal discharge
- Bleeding after intercourse
- Abdominal pain
If you suspect that you may have cervicitis, consult your provider. Your provider will review your symptoms, perform a physical exam, conduct a Pap test, and analyze the samples for signs of cervicitis.
Cervicitis is most often caused by certain bacteria. Some of these bacteria are related to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Other causes may include chemical irritations, viruses, or allergies to contraceptive medications or devices. If you are diagnosed with cervicitis, the treatment will depend on the specific cause. If the cause is bacteria, an antibiotic may be prescribed.
You can limit your risk of developing cervicitis by:
- Limiting your number of sexual partners
- Knowing the history of your partner
- Consulting your provider immediately if your partner has been diagnosed with urethritis
- Having a complete physical exam each year
- Treating vaginal infections immediately
- Avoiding chemical irritants in deodorized tampons, douches, or feminine deodorant sprays