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Cervical inflammation; Inflammation - cervix
Cervicitis is swelling (inflammation) of the end of the uterus (cervix).
Cervicitis is most often caused by an infection, usually caught during sexual activity. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that can cause cervicitis include:
However, in a few cases it may be due to:
Cervicitis is very common, affecting more than half of all women at some point during their adult life. Risks include:
Bacteria (such as staphylococcus and streptococcus) and too much growth of normal bacteria in the vagina (bacterial vaginosis) can also cause cervicitis.
Note: There may be no symptoms, so it is recommended that certain women be tested for chlamydia, even if they do not have symptoms.
A pelvic examination may show:
Rarely, colposcopy and biopsy of the cervix is necessary.
Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and others. Drugs called antivirals may be used to treat herpes infections.
Hormonal therapy (with estrogen or progesterone) may be used in women who have reached menopause (postmenopausal).
When these treatments have not worked or when cervicitis has been present for a long time, treatment may include:
Simple cervicitis usually heals with treatment if the cause is found and there is a treatment for that cause.
Cervicitis may last for months to years. Cervicitis may lead to pain with intercourse (dyspareunia).
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of cervicitis.
Ways to reduce the risk of cervicitis include:
Eckert LO, Lentz GM. Infections of the lower genital tract: Vulva, vagina, cervix, toxic shock syndrome, HIV infections. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 22.
Biggs WS, Williams RM. Common gynecologic infections. Prim Care. 2009;36:33-51.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force:
Diseases characterized by urethritis and cervicitis. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines 2006. Update to CDC's sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines. 2006: fluoroquinolones no longer recommended for treatment of gonococcal infections. Available at
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