What is cervicitis? – Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

By (embryologist), (gynecologist), (gynecologist) and (psychologist).
Last Update: 08/09/2023

Cervicitis is an inflammation of the cervix or uterine cervix quite common in women, as it occurs in 50% of them. This condition can be classified into acute or chronic cervicitis from a clinical point of view.

The most common cause of cervical inflammation is a sexually transmitted infection (chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, etc.) or the presence of certain germs from the woman's own body. In addition, cervicitis may be caused by a non-infectious agent, either by irritation, injury to the cervix or allergies.

Most women diagnosed with cervicitis are asymptomatic or have nonspecific symptoms such as intermenstrual bleeding, painful intercourse, etc.

What are the causes of cervicitis?

Usually, the main cause of cervical inflammation is a bacterial or viral infection acquired during unprotected sex.

Specifically, some of the sexually transmitted infections that can cause cervicitis are as follows:

Infections in a woman's vagina can also cause inflammation of the cervix. This is what happens with bacterial vaginosis and Trichomonasvaginitis.

However, infections are not the only cause of cervicitis. There are other factors that can also lead to this condition: diaphragm insertion, contraceptive creams, allergies to condom latex, etc.

Risk Factors

The risk of sexually transmitted diseases increases in those who are sexually active and do not use barrier protection. Therefore, some factors that increase the likelihood of a woman suffering from cervicitis are:

  • Risky sexual behaviors, such as not using barrier protection and having multiple partners.
  • Beginning to have sex at an early age.
  • History of STIs.
  • Menopause.

In case of having been exposed to any risk situation and/or having suspicion of a possible bacterial or viral infection, it is advisable to go to the doctor.

What symptoms does cervicitis cause?

Most women who present with cervicitis do not describe specific symptoms, although some of the following clinical signs may arise:

  • Yellowish or greenish discharge and may have an odor.
  • Pain in the lower abdomen and even during sexual intercourse.
  • Stinging, burning or irritation in the affected area.
  • Discomfort when urinating.
  • Feverish states.

Although the symptoms described above are the most frequent, when the specialist performs a gynecological examination he may also observe redness of the cervix and inflammation of the vaginal walls.

In addition, if inflammation of the ligaments responsible for supporting the pelvic organs occurs, the woman will have back pain, dysmenorrhea, or menorrhea. In the case of chronic cervicitis, Nabothian cysts, a small nodule caused by the accumulation of cervical mucus, may appear.

Therefore, annual gynecological consultations for women are of vital importance to verify if there are any changes that require treatment.

Diagnosis and treatment of cervicitis

In order to carry out the diagnosis, it is very important to visit a specialist at the onset of any type of these discomforts.

After a gynecological examination or pelvic examination, the woman may feel discomfort due to inflammation of the vagina or redness and discharge from the cervix. In addition, the physician will observe an inflamed cervix compared to a woman without cervicitis. Sometimes, the gynecologist also considers it necessary to perform a cytology to assess whether the cervicitis is due to an infection.

The cervix acts as a barrier to prevent bacteria and viruses from entering the uterus. When the cervix is infected, there is an increased risk of the infection moving to the uterus, fallopian tubes, and even the ovaries, leading to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and causing female infertility in some cases. Therefore, timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment for each woman are of vital importance.

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Generally, the treatment of cervicitis is based on antibiotics under medical prescription. If the condition is chronic, it may require the application of ova and may even require other procedures such as cauterization.

Throughout the treatment, specialists advise women to maintain good intimate hygiene and not to have sexual intercourse.

Can cervicitis be prevented?

In relation to the prevention of cervicitis, there are different measures established by specialists. When these measures are carried out correctly, the risk of cervicitis is reduced to a minimum.

If the woman maintains an active sexual life and with different people, the use of condoms is always recommended to avoid the transmission of any infectious agent.

Another preventive measure for cervicitis is to avoid chemical irritants, such as douching, using tampons without following the manufacturer's instructions, etc.

On the other hand, the hygiene of the intimate area is of vital importance. There are gels for cleaning intimate areas that have a neutral pH and therefore do not alter the vaginal balance.

FAQs from users

How is cervicitis cured?

By Paula Fabra Roca M.D., M.Sc. (gynecologist).

Cervicitis is inflammation of the cervix or cervix due to multiple causes, such as a vaginal infection, an allergic reaction, or a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

Therefore, to establish the best treatment for cervicitis it is important to know the cause of the inflammation.

When we observe cervicitis in the reproductive field it is important to perform a vaginal culture and an endocervical culture. If the result of the culture shows that there is an infection, it is advisable to treat it so that this infection does not ascend to the uterine cavity.
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Is cervicitis contagious?

By Rut Gómez de Segura M.D. (gynecologist).

No. Cervicitis is an inflammation of the cervix, whose symptoms may include bleeding outside the menstrual period, pain during sexual intercourse and abnormal and/or abundant secretions. Asymptomatic cervicitis may also occur.

Cervicitis itself is not contagious, as it can have several non-infectious causes: an allergic reaction (vaginal hygiene products, latex...), vaginosis (presence of excessive bacteria in the vaginal flower).

Imagen: Some symptoms of cervicitis

However, in most cases, cervicitis is a response to a sexually transmitted infection, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, vaginal herpes or trichomoniasis. In these cases, it is not the cervicitis that will be spread, but the infection causing the inflammation. With a treatment of the inflammation, the cervicitis can be successfully eliminated.

What is the difference between acute cervicitis and chronic cervicitis?

By Marta Barranquero Gómez B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

The main difference between the types of cervicitis lies in the cause. Chronic cervicitis is usually not caused by infection and usually presents as redness of the cervix due to other factors, such as allergies. This type of condition can also be caused by pH disturbances.

Acute cervicitis occurs as a result of a bacterial or viral infection and is therefore associated with sexually transmitted infections. In addition, acute cervicitis is frequently found after childbirth.

In any case, the infection can move up the female reproductive tract and lead to endometritis and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

What is the prognosis of cervicitis?

By Marta Barranquero Gómez B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

Inflammation of the cervix (cervicitis) generally has a good prognosis, as most women outgrow the condition after treatment.

However, sometimes cervicitis can last for months or years. Complications can also occur in women if the infection spreads through the female reproductive tract, although they are rare.

Are there home remedies to treat cervicitis?

By Marta Barranquero Gómez B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

There are some natural treatment options for cervical inflammation. For example, you can drink infusions of primrose or carrot tea.

Another home remedy for cervicitis would be to use aloe vera for its regenerative power and anti-inflammatory function. However, it is advisable to visit a specialist if symptoms of possible cervicitis appear.

If you want to learn more about other cervical disorders, you can visit this article: Cervical factor: female sterility due to cervical abnormalities.

On the other hand, one of the treatments for inflammation of the cervix is cauterization. If you wish to obtain more information related to this topic, we recommend you to visit this link: What is cervical cauterization?

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Shawn K Mattson, Julia P Polk, Paul Nyirjesy. Chronic Cervicitis: Presenting Features and Response to Therapy. J Low Genit Tract Dis. 2016 Jul;20(3):e30-3. doi: 10.1097/LGT.0000000000000225 (View)

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FAQs from users: 'How is cervicitis cured?', 'Is cervicitis contagious?', 'What is the difference between acute cervicitis and chronic cervicitis?', 'What is the prognosis of cervicitis?' and 'Are there home remedies to treat cervicitis?'.

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Authors and contributors

 Marta Barranquero Gómez
Marta Barranquero Gómez
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Graduated in Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences by the University of Valencia (UV) and specialized in Assisted Reproduction by the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH) in collaboration with Ginefiv and in Clinical Genetics by the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH). More information about Marta Barranquero Gómez
License: 3316-CV
 Paula Fabra Roca
Paula Fabra Roca
M.D., M.Sc.
Dr. Paula Fabra has a degree in Medicine and Surgery and specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She also has a Master's degree in Assisted Human Reproduction. More information about Paula Fabra Roca
collegiate number: 51123
 Rut Gómez de Segura
Rut Gómez de Segura
Graduation in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Alcalá de Henares. Specialization in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Hospital Costa del Sol in Marbella. Dr Rut Gómez de Segura currently works as medical director in the fertility center ProcreaTec in Madrid. More information about Rut Gómez de Segura
Licence number: 28/2908776
Adapted into english by:
 Cristina  Algarra Goosman
Cristina Algarra Goosman
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Graduated in Psychology by the University of Valencia (UV) and specialized in Clinical Psychology by the European University Center and specific training in Infertility: Legal, Medical and Psychosocial Aspects by University of Valencia (UV) and ADEIT.
More information about Cristina Algarra Goosman
Member number: CV16874

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