While sexually transmitted infections (STI) are the leading cause of cervicitis, the condition can also be caused by allergies, injuries and other noninfectious causes.
Yes, you can get cervicitis without a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Nonetheless, sexually transmitted infections or STIs, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes and trichomonas, cause most cases of cervicitis.
Cervicitis may also be caused by other reasons, such as:
- Allergies to spermicidal creams or latex condoms
- Exposure to chemicals, such as deodorants and douches
- Injury to the cervix may occur by inserting an intrauterine device (IUD), cervical cap or diaphragm
- Overgrowth of bacteria normally residing in the vagina (bacterial vaginosis)
- Fungal infection in case of uncontrolled diabetes mellitus
Some of the risk factors for cervicitis include:
- Having multiple sexual partners
- Having a history of STI
- Being sexually active at an early age
- Having a high-risk sexual behavior
- Having sexual partners who have a history of STIs or a high-risk sexual behavior
What is cervicitis?
Cervicitis is inflammation of the cervix, which is the lower, narrow end of the uterus that forms a canal between the uterus and vagina.
Cervicitis may be caused by an infection (such as STIs) or a noninfectious cause (such as allergies). Depending on its duration, the condition may be either acute or chronic.
- Acute cervicitis is usually caused by an infection, although it may also be the result of other conditions, such as irritants or allergies. It is sudden in its onset and will resolve quickly with proper treatment.
- Chronic cervicitis, however, has a gradual onset and persists for a long period. It is usually caused by noninfectious origins, such as prolonged exposure to irritants (including deodorants, condoms or tampons).
Cervicitis may or may not cause any symptoms and may be incidentally diagnosed. The condition, however, must not be ignored because untreated cervicitis may cause complications, such as:
- Pelvic inflammatory diseases or PID (an infection of the uterus, ovaries or fallopian tubes)
- Ectopic pregnancy (a condition in which the fertilized egg implants and grows outside the main cavity of the uterus)
- Increased risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection from an infected partner
- Chronic pelvic pain
What are the symptoms of cervicitis?
Usually, cervicitis is asymptomatic and may be incidentally diagnosed when the female undergoes a pelvic examination for another reason, such as pregnancy.
When present, the symptoms of cervicitis generally include:
How is cervicitis treated?
Treatment of cervicitis primarily depends on its cause. Other factors that influence treatment include the age of the patient, duration of the condition and the symptom severity.
- Cervicitis caused by allergies or irritants may be managed by avoiding the use of the offending agents, such as feminine hygiene products or spermicidal jellies.
- Bacterial infections, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea or bacterial vaginosis, may be treated with antibiotics.
- Antiviral medications may be prescribed to treat cervicitis caused by genital herpes. This treatment controls inflammation and may help limit the spread of infection although the infections cannot be cured.
The doctor may recommend avoiding high-risk sexual behavior and abstaining from sex until the treatment is completed.
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Ada’s Medical Knowledge Team. Cervicitis. Ada Health. https://ada.com/conditions/cervicitis/
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