Cervicitis

A cervix infection, the lower, thin end of the uterus that exits into the vagina, is known as cervicitis. A wide variety of organisms can cause it. Chronic cervicitis can persist for months or even years, while acute cervicitis develops rapidly and is milder.

Last Updated: February 25, 2024

The prevalence of cervicitis is difficult to quantify due to a lack of a standard definition and population diversity. Sexual activity is the most significant risk factor for infectious causes, affecting 30%-40% of STI patients.

Gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, and trichomoniasis are only a few STDs that can lead to cervicitis. Additionally, allergic reactions and bacterial overgrowth are also known causes.

Signs and symptoms of cervicitis include:

  • Unusual vaginal discharge that smells bad and may be yellow, white, or gray
  • Abnormal, mild vaginal bleeding
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Irritation of the vulva or genital area
  • Urinary problems
  • Bleeding between periods or after sexual intercourse

Cervicitis should be seriously evaluated when the symptoms mentioned above are present as a possible STD complication.

Diagnosing cervicitis requires a complete pelvic examination. Also, a Pap smear might be done. With these tests, your doctor can look at the cells in your cervix and uterus to see if there are any problems. Additionally, suppose there is any vaginal discharge. In that case, a sample of this discharge will be collected to check for diseases like gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomonas, and bacterial vaginosis. 

The presence of blisters and ulcers suggests a herpes simplex virus infection. In contrast, the presence of punctate hemorrhages (strawberry vagina) is suggestive of trichomonas. There are many cases of mycoplasma cervicitis in which the patient shows no symptoms.

When testing for chlamydia and neisseria, nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT) is the most sensitive and specific method. Endocervical, vaginal fluid, and urine samples can all be processed by NAAT.

 

Treatment

Women under the age of 25, those with a new sexual relationship, those with a partner who already has an STI, and those who have more than one sexual partner at a time are all at increased risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection. They should be treated promptly, as suggested by the CDC. To prevent chlamydia and gonorrhea, antibiotics are prescribed to these females.

The following are the preferred antibiotics for infectious agents confirmed by laboratory analysis:

  • Chlamydia: azithromycin or doxycycline
  • Gonorrhea: ceftriaxone plus azithromycin
  • Mycoplasma: moxifloxacin with azithromycin
  • Trichomonas: metronidazole or tinidazole
  • Bacterial vaginosis: oral metronidazole or intravaginal metronidazole gel
  • HSV: acyclovir

Even though cervicitis is unavoidable, you can lessen your chances of contracting it by engaging in safe sexual behavior. You can significantly lower your risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease by using condoms whenever you have sexual contact with another person.

 

References

Iqbal U, Wills C. Cervicitis. [Updated 2022 Sep 5]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK562193/

 

John’s Hopkins Medicine (2022). Cervicitis. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/cervicitis

 

Cleveland Clinic (2022). Cervicitis. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15360-cervicitis

 

Mayo Clinic (2022). Cervicitis. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cervicitis/symptoms-causes/

Last Updated: February 25, 2024