The cervix is the lower part of the uterus and is projected inwards the vagina. It’s usually 3 – 4 centimeters long and its diameter is 2,5 cm. At the moment of birth it might increase up to 10 cm. One of the main advantages is that it’s usually a natural barrier against the entrance of bacteria.
The cervical mucus is a secretion inside the cervix that appears six days before ovulation. Its apparition indicates the fertile days of the woman, and therefore, she can get pregnant. This is what produces that a woman feels humidity during her fertile days and dryness during her infertile days.
The mucus has a viscous texture that gets less and less dense and increases in quantity as the days go by. It increases with the sexual hormones and has a great deal of importance in fertility, since it facilitates and enables the ascent of the spermatozoa. Any problem with it may constitute a problem with female fertility.
When there’s a trouble with it, assisted reproduction techniques offer the possibility of intrauterine artificial insemination. This technique consists in the placement of the spermatozoa in the uterus, in order to avoid them to go through the cervical mucus.
The cervical mucus disappears with ovulation, being replaced by dryness. The quality of the mucus is determined with the postcoital test (PCT). This test evaluates the state of the spermatozoa located in the mucus, if they are able to survive or not, and also the characteristics of the mucus.
Problems related with the cervical mucus
There are several problems related with the cervical mucus that may be due to several causes and that may affect fertility directly:
- Hormonal instability: for instance, the lack of estrogenic hormone alters the secretion of the cervical mucus.
- Infections such as Chlamydia and gonorrhoeae.
- Immunologic diseases: cause the apparition of antibodies in the mucus.
- Lack of mucus: which can take place as a consequence of an operation such as conization, cauterization, cryosurgery…
- Dysmucorrhea: alteration in the relationship mucus-semen.
- Chronic cervicitis: presence of chronic vaginal discharge that may cause the apparition of leucocytes in the mucus.
Each woman’s cervical mucus is different. Even though it should vary depending on the stage of the menstrual cycle, this variations may not be so evident. Even in the same woman, every cycle is different and may secrete more or less quantity of mucus. Only in those cases where there’s a clear difference in more than one cycle, the gynaecologist must be consulted, so that he can check if this alteration is due to any infection or problem with the reproductive system.