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Cervicitis

WHAT IS CERVICITIS?

A suffix of 'itis' means inflammation of the part to which 'itis' is added. In this case it means inflammation or infection of the cervix (the lower third of the uterus, which opens into the vagina). There are 2 types, and either may be contagious:

  • Acute cervicitis is usually a bacterial or viral infection with specific symptoms.
  • Chronic cervicitis is a long-term infection that may not have symptoms and can only be detected at routine gynec examination.

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

Acute cervicitis:

Chronic cervicitis:

  • Slight - sometimes unnoticeable - vaginal discharge.
  • Backache.
  • Discomfort while urinating.
  • Discomfort during sexual intercourse.

Extensive chronic cervicitis:

CAUSES

  • Acute cervicitis is usually caused by infection from one of many bacteria, including the one that causes gonorrhoea, or herpes virus.
  • Chronic cervicitis is caused by repeated episodes of acute attacks or one episode that is not treated long enough

RISK INCREASES WITH

  • Multiple sexual partners.
  • Diabetes mellitus.
  • Acute or recurrent vaginitis.

HOW TO PREVENT

  • If prone to infections, wear cotton panties. Avoid panties made from non-ventilating materials. Synthetic materials hold in vaginal wetness and warmth, which may trigger vaginal or cervical infections.
  • If you must take antibiotics for any reason, eat curds. This reduces the chance that antibiotics will allow growth of infectious organisms in the cervix or vagina.
  • Avoid contracting gonorrhoea or other sexually transmitted diseases by restricting to one sexual partner.

DIAGNOSTIC MEASURES

  • Suggestive symptoms.
  • History and pelvic exam by a doctor.
  • Laboratory studies, such as a Pap smear and culture of the discharge.
  • Biopsy of the cervix, in some cases.

POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS

PROBABLE OUTCOME

  • Mild cervicitis will heal without treatment.
  • Acute cervicitis caused by venereal disease is contagious through sexual intercourse and is curable with medication.
  • Most other cases of cervicitis can be cured with treatment. All women with cervicitis need regular checkups until the condition heals.

TREATMENT

GENERAL MEASURES

  • Use sanitary pads instead of tampons during treatment.
  • Don't douche unless you have checked with your doctor.
  • If cervicitis is caused by a sexually transmitted infection, your sexual partner also needs treatment.

MEDICATION

Your doctor may prescribe antiviral or antibiotic vaginal creams or suppositories to fight infection, in addition to oral medications.

ACTIVITY

No restriction except to avoid sexual relations until your doctor has determined that infection has healed.

DIET

No special diet.

CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY, IF

  • You have symptoms of cervicitis.
  • During treatment, discomfort persists longer than 1 week or symptoms worsen.
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding or swelling develops during or after treatment.
  • New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.
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