Cervicitis is inflammation of the cervix most often caused by an infection or irritation of the tissues. Anything ending in ‘itis’ means ‘inflammation’ so cervicitis just means inflammation of the cervix no matter what the cause.

What causes cervicitis?

The most common cause of cervicitis is a sexually transmitted infection such as gonorrhoea, chlamydia, genital herpes, and trichomoniasis, however you can get an inflamed cervix from physical damage, for example vigorous or inappropriate use of sex toys or other objects.

Allergies or sensitivities to douches or condoms can also be a cause. Often times women who end up with cervicitis are immune-compromised, so it is going to be your responsibility to figure out why you have this, and how you can prevent it in future, based on your personal circumstances.

Symptoms of cervicitis

These might include an unusual type of vaginal discharge, bleeding, redness, inflammation or swelling of the cervix.

It often results in vaginal pain, but because there are not a huge number of nerve endings in those areas, it can take a while to notice.

Do I have cervicitis?

A swab of your cervix may be necessary to test for bleeding or tenderness and to gather fluids. This fluid will then be tested for bacterial, viral or fungal presence.

Treating cervicitis

It is important to get prompt investigations into cervicitis to determine its cause. Quick treatment of cervicitis is preferable because infection can easily spread up into the uterus and out into the fallopian tubes and ovaries, causing damage.

Your doctor will recommend appropriate treatment depending on the medical findings. He or she may give you antibiotic, antifungal or antiviral medication.

Creams or oral medication can be prescribed. Overnight pessaries can also be recommended. In this vein, it is important to evaluate your general wellbeing if you have ended up with cervicitis, but the results are  inconclusive. 

If you have other health problems that result in infection, work on your immunity. If you don’t have very hygienic or  safe sexual practices, do a review and stop the problematic behaviour. 

Because cervicitis is often related to infection, don’t diddle around with it: those beautiful organs need protecting.

Check out reflexology, acupuncture or other acupressure techniques that can help to relieve pain and inflammation, and boost your defences, for use with other treatments.

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Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)