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How does Cervicitis Occur and How to Diagnose it?

Cervicitis is inflammation of the cervix. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. Babies develop in the uterus, and menstrual blood comes from the uterus, through the cervix.


How does cervicitis occur?


Infections by bacteria or viruses are common causes of cervicitis. Usually the infections are transmitted by sexual contact. Possible infections including trichomonas, chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, and human papillomavirus (HPV).


Sexual intercourse, injury during childbirth, or surgery may cause the cervix to become inflamed or infected.


How is cervicitis diagnosed?


If you think you may have cervicitis, see your healthcare provider.


Do not use a tampon or diaphragm. When you see your provider, you will be asked about your symptoms. You will have a physical exam, including a pelvic exam. Your provider may use swabs to get a sample of discharge and cells from your cervix for lab tests. Your provider may look at some of your discharge with a microscope to try to see what could be causing the infection.


Your provider may also recommend the following tests:


•Pap test
•biopsy of the cervix (cutting tiny pieces of tissue from the cervix for lab tests)
•blood tests to check for hepatitis B virus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)


A biopsy may be done as part of an exam called a colposcopy. This is an exam in which your healthcare provider uses a magnifying instrument to look at the cervix. A colposcopy may also be done if a Pap test or biopsied tissue is abnormal.


Mild cervicitis usually is gone by the time you have taken all the medicine. The symptoms of more severe cervicitis may last a month or two, even with treatment.


Rarely, the infection may spread to the lining of the uterus or to the fallopian tubes. These infections could cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or infertility. They usually result from infections of gonorrhea or chlamydia.

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