The cervix is the lower portion of the uterus and the “neck” that connects to the vagina. It has two parts: the inner of the endocervical canal and the outer of the ectocervix.
The causes of cervical ectropion include:
- High estrogen levels: The cervix is highly responsive to estrogen, which is responsible for the formation of the cervical cells. With the increase in estrogen, the cervical cells grow in number and spread to the outer part of the cervix. Cervical ectropion is usually seen in conditions when the estrogen levels are high, such as:
- Congenital: In some cases, during fetal development, the squamocolumnar junction (the transitional zone of the inner columnar cells and outer squamous cells) remains in its original neonatal position. It may also occur when the fetus is exposed to maternal hormones, which leads to endocervical columnar epithelial hyperactivity and causes cervical ectropion during late fetal development and the first month of life.
- Diseases: Studies have suggested that women suffering from chlamydia are more likely to have cervical ectropion. However, further study is needed to confirm this link.
Cervical ectropion is rare in postmenopausal women. In the postmenopausal period, the estrogen levels fall, causing the cervix to shrink and invert, pushing the ectocervical squamous cell epithelium into the endocervical canal.
What is cervical ectropion?
Cervical ectropion, also called cervical erosion or cervical ectopy, occurs when the cells (columnar glandular cells) that line the inner part (endocervical canal) of the cervix spread to the outer surface (ectocervix) of the cervix, which normally has different types of cells (called the squamous epithelium).
Cervical ectropion is a benign (noncancerous) gynecological condition that is pretty common among women of childbearing age and is typically nothing to be concerned about. It is not a symptom of another health issue, such as cervical cancer, and it doesn’t cause infertility. However, in cases with symptoms, doctors may advise some treatment.
What are cervical ectropion symptoms?
Cervical ectropion is mostly asymptomatic and is usually diagnosed by a doctor during a pelvic examination. However, the affected women may experience some symptoms, which include:
There may be pain and bleeding during or after a pelvic examination. The most prevalent cause of bleeding in the latter months of pregnancy is cervical ectropion. As the columnar glandular cells are more delicate than the squamous epithelial cells, they produce more mucus and bleed easily.
Even if the symptoms are mild, consulting a doctor for appropriate examination is necessary because similar symptoms are seen in other gynecological problems. Thus, the cause should be ruled out to get proper treatment.
How do you diagnose cervical ectropion?
Cervical ectropion is usually diagnosed during a pelvic examination where the cervix appears red and rougher than normal. Some bleeding may be seen during the examination.
What are the treatment options for cervical ectropion?
Cervical ectropion may not need any treatment and symptoms resolve by themselves. If the symptoms start during pregnancy, they resolve three to six months post-delivery. If it is caused by birth control pills, the doctor may prescribe other contraceptive pills.
If the symptoms are severe, the doctor may treat the patient with:
- Cryotherapy: Cryotherapy, also called cryosurgery, is where a doctor uses a probe to freeze the cervical cells to stop the symptoms. Studies suggest that this treatment works effectively for women who have a lot of vaginal discharge from cervical ectropion.
- Diathermy: The doctor applies intense heat to the cells to remove them by using a tiny instrument. The patient will be given medication to numb the region first.
- Silver nitrate: Silver nitrate is a chemical that is applied to the cervix by the doctor to seal off the cells that cause bleeding. There would not be any necessity of numbing medication beforehand.
These are small procedures that may be done at the doctor’s office, and people may continue with normal daily activities. However, people may feel some discomfort for a few hours to days, and some patients may have spotting or vaginal discharge for a few weeks.
To prevent infections and to provide time to heal, it is advised to avoid intercourse and using tampons for a few weeks.
Follow-up with the doctor according to their recommendation to check the healing progress or if any possible infections may require immediate medical attention.
Immediate medical attention is required if there are any symptoms, such as:
- Severe pain
- Heavy bleeding
- Smelly vaginal discharge
- Scans Show Brain Changes in People With Long COVID
- Got GERD? Eat This Way to Help Avoid Symptoms
- 5 Women Contracted Syphilis Affecting the Eyes From the Same Asymptomatic Man
- Long COVID Now Common in U.S. Nursing Homes
- Breathing in Coal-Based Pollution Could Be Especially Deadly: Study
- More Health News »
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Columbia Shores Sexual Health. What Is Cervical Ectropion? https://www.columbiashoresobgyn.org/blog/251232-what-is-cervical-ectropion
The Gynaecology Collaborative. What Is Cervical Ectropion? https://www.islingtongpfederation.org/cervical-ectropion
Top What Causes Cervical Ectropion Related Articles
What Are Causes of Yellow Discharge and What Does It Mean?What is yellow discharge, and what could it mean? Learn the common causes of yellow discharge and when it is necessary to see your doctor for treatment. Normal vaginal discharge is typically thin, clear or white. Vaginal discharge during pregnancy that is yellow, green, gray, red or frothy could be a sign of infection and may require medical treatment.
Cervical Cancer QuizHow is cervical cancer different from other cancers? Take this quiz to learn the basics of cervical cancer.
CryotherapyCryotherapy, sometimes referred to as cryosurgery, is a pain treatment procedure that uses a method of localized freezing temperatures to deaden an irritated nerve. Cryotherapy can be used to treat nerve irritation between the ribs (intercostal neuralgia), cluneal nerve entrapment, ilioinguinal neuroma, hypogastric neuromas, lateral femoral cutaneous nerve entrapment, and interdigital neuromas, nerve entrapment (pinched nerves), and neuromas.
How Many Days Before a Period Do You Get Discharge?Vaginal discharge is a normal part of a woman's menstrual cycle. Learn about vaginal discharge before a period, how many days you get discharge before your period, signs and causes of vaginal discharge, and when to see a doctor if there's a problem. Vaginal discharge is the fluid secreted from the uterus, cervix (neck of the uterus) and vagina. A thick yellow vaginal discharge may point to vaginitis (infection of the vagina).
What Does It Mean If I’m Having a Lot of Vaginal Discharge?It's normal for women to have some amount of vaginal discharge. Learn more about what it can mean if you have more vaginal discharge than usual or if your discharge has an unusual appearance.
Pap SmearA Pap smear (Pap test) is a medical procedure to screen for abnormal cells of the cervix. A woman should have her first Pap smear (in general) three years after vaginal intercourse, or no later than 21 years of age. The risks for women at increased risk for having an abnormal Pap smear include: HPV (genital warts), smoking, a weakened immune system, medications (diethylstilbestrol), and others. Some of the conditions that may result in an abnormal Pap smear include: absence of endocervical cells, unreliable Pap smear due to inflammation, atypical squamous cells (ASCUS), low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL), high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL), cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), and carcinoma in situ.
Spotting vs. PeriodMenstruation (a female's "period") occurs due to the shedding of the lining of the uterus. Menstrual bleeding lasts about three to five days, and the bleeding is heavy the first couple of days and then it lessens. Spotting is vaginal bleeding between periods.
Vaginal BleedingNormal vaginal bleeding (menorrhea) occurs through the process of menstruation. Abnormal vaginal bleeding in women who are ovulating regularly most commonly involves excessive, frequent, irregular, or decreased bleeding. Causes of abnormal may arise from a variety of conditions that may include, uterine fibroids, IUDs, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, lupus, STDs, pelvic inflammatory disease, emotional stress, anorexia nervosa, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), cancers, early pregnancy.
Vaginal Health Quiz: Test Your Medical IQTake this Vaginal Health Quiz to learn about about common problems that women experience, and when to see a doctor about problems down there.
What Does Cervical Mucus Look Like After Ovulation?The consistency of cervical mucus fluctuates throughout the month. Learn what cervical mucus should look like during and after ovulation and when you should see a doctor.
What Foods Are High in Estrogen?Learn more about what foods contain high amounts of estrogen, when to eat them, and when to avoid them. Human growth hormone (HGH) helps regulate metabolism as well as bone and muscle growth. But synthetic HGH treatments may do more harm than good.
What Happens When Estrogen Levels Are Too High or Too Low?Estrogen regulates various functions in the human body. Learn more about what happens when those levels get too high or too low. Find out about hormones that can affect your happiness and learn how to boost your mood.