Cervicitis

Cervicitis is inflammation (irritation) of the lining of the cervix. The cervix is the tip of the uterus that extends into the vagina. Cervicitis can be a sign of infection. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) of the cervix known to cause cervicitis include chlamydia and gonorrhea.

If left untreated, cervicitis caused by an STI can cause severe pain or infertility (inability to have children). It can increase the risk of having a tubal (ectopic) pregnancy. Having cervicitis also makes it more likely to get or spread HIV.

Symptoms

Most people with cervicitis do not have symptoms. If symptoms occur, they can include:

  • Vaginal discharge that is different than usual
  • Spotting (blood) between periods or after sex
  • Pain during or after vaginal sex

Prevention

Condoms can prevent the spread of STIs known to cause cervicitis. Having multiple partners increases your risk of getting these STIs.

Testing

If your health care provider sees blood or pus on the tip of the cervix during a pelvic (internal) exam, they will use a swab to collect a sample of fluid from the cervix for testing.

Treatment

Your health care provider may give you antibiotics to treat any STIs that are causing the cervicitis.

Sex Partners

If your cervicitis is caused by an STI, your sex partner(s) also need to be treated so they do not develop serious health problems, re-infect you or pass the infection on to others. If you test positive for an STI, tell all of your sex partners from the previous two months about your infection so that they can be examined and treated.

Cervicitis in Pregnancy

All pregnant people should be tested for STIs, including HIV, as early as possible in pregnancy. STIs in pregnancy can cause infections in the eyes and the lungs of the newborn baby.

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