Chronic cervicitis is a very common inflammation of the cervix in women. The best way to prevent it is with risk-free sexual behavior and proper hygiene.
Cervicitis is inflammation of the cervix. The cervix, on the other hand, is the organ that connects the uterus and the vagina. It is crossed by the cervical canal, a tube through which menstrual blood leaves and which also allows the passage of a baby from the uterus to the vagina during childbirth.
According to estimates, more than half of adult women will have cervicitis at some point in their life. Therefore, it is considered a very common problem that, moreover, can be treated successfully in most cases.
Women who have multiple sexual partners or who engage in risky sexual behaviors are more likely to develop cervicitis. Also those who have had sexually transmitted diseases. However, there are many other causes that can trigger this inflammation.
Chronic cervicitis symptoms
In many cases, cervicitis does not cause any symptoms. It is not uncommon to detect the disease during a gynecological examination only. This underscores the importance of getting regular exams.
If there are symptoms, they usually include one or more of the following:
- Heavy vaginal discharge that may be gray, white, or yellow in color and has a strong odor.
- Painful and frequent urination.
- Bleeding during or after having sex.
- Excessive bleeding during period, between menstrual periods, or after menopause.
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
- Pain in the vagina.
- Burning or itching sensation in the area.
- Sensation of pressure in the pelvis.
- Irritation of the vulva.
The doctor can detect any other symptoms during a gynecological examination. Inflammation of the vaginal walls and redness of the cervix are some which the doctor can detect. If there is also inflammation of the ligaments that support the pelvic organs, there may be back pain, menorrhea, or dysmenorrhea.
What causes it?
The most common is that cervicitis arises as a result of an infection. This, in turn, is usually the effect of a sexually transmitted disease such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, trichomaniasis, ureaplasma or mycoplasma.
The infection can also be caused by improper hygiene in items such as intrauterine devices, vaginal cones, or tampons. However, the disease is not always the result of an infection. Sometimes it is the result of one of the following factors:
- Allergy. Inflammation can arise in response to douches, spermicides, or the latex in condoms.
- Bacterial imbalance. An inflamed cervix can be a symptom of bacterial vaginosis. This is a condition in which harmful bacteria abound in the vagina.
- Irritation. If you insert items such as tampons, diaphragms, etc. into the vagina, there may be irritation or damage to the cervix.
- Pregnancy. During pregnancy this area is more sensitive and the change in hormonal levels can lead to cervicitis.
- Cancer or cancer treatment. It is not very common, but these conditions can cause symptoms of the disease.
The following are considered risk factors for cervicitis:
- Frequent use of douching.
- Start having sex at an early age.
- Having sex with multiple partners without proper protection.
- Having sex with a partner who exhibits risky sexual behaviors.
- Present a history of sexually transmitted diseases.
- Menopause favors the development of infections in the genitourinary system.
It is necessary to consult with the doctor if there are symptoms of cervicitis. It is important to take into account that it is not always about this disease, but it can also correspond to other pathologies.
The means to diagnose cervicitis are as follows:
- Bimanual pelvic exam. The doctor inserts a finger into the vagina, while pressing the abdomen and pelvis with the other hand. This makes it possible to detect anomalies.
- PAP test. It is the laboratory analysis of a sample of cells from the cervix and vagina.
- Cervical biopsy or colposcopy. It consists of taking a mucus sample, analyzing it, and then taking a tissue sample, if there is any abnormality. Doctors recommend it only when there’s something abnormal on the Pap test.
- Culture of cervical discharge. A sample of the discharge from the cervix is taken and tested in the laboratory for infection.
Available cervicitis treatments
Treatment for cervicitis depends on what causes it. The most usual thing is that if the disease is caused by bacteria, a treatment with antibiotics is sought. If the factor that originates it is a virus, it is treated with antivirals.
If disease continues beyond what is reasonable or the treatment does not work, it may be necessary to go to other procedures, such as one of the following:
- Cryosurgery. A freezing technique destroys the abnormal tissue in the cervix.
- Electrocautery. Harmful tissues are removed by heat generated with electricity.
- Laser therapy Abnormal tissues are cut, cauterized, and destroyed using lasers.
Sometimes it is convenient to complement medical treatment with home remedies. The most used are the following:
- Yogurt or probiotic supplements. They are used when the cause is bacterial vaginosis, since their consumption helps reduce harmful bacteria in the vagina.
- Chinese herbs. Some Chinese herbs have an anti-inflammatory effect and help drug treatment to be more effective.
- Garlic or garlic supplement. It is a natural antibacterial and can help alleviate the infection that causes cervicitis.
Prevention and recommendations
If you take proper preventive measures, cervicitis will most likely not develop. Having safe sex is very important. You should always use a condom and limit the number of sexual partners. Monogamy, with a monogamous partner, is the best prevention against sexual infections.
It is also very important to avoid chemical irritants, such as douches or tampons with deodorant. Any device that is inserted into the vagina must be very well placed. Hygienic products such as sanitary pads or tampons should be changed regularly.
It is best to use loose cotton underwear. It is more breathable and reduces humidity, thus preventing the proliferation of bacteria. Green tea can be effective in preventing genitourinary problems, although these data are under study.
See your doctor
It is very important to treat cervicitis in time, as the cervix is a barrier to prevent bacteria or viruses from entering the uterus. If this happens, a more delicate uterine infection is possible.
Untreated cervicitis can also lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy, or even infertility. Proper and timely treatment almost always avoids any of these complications.
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