Cervicitis
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Cervicitis

Obstetrics and GynaecologyReproductive Medicine

Cervicitis refers to the infected and inflamed condition of the cervical tissue. Cervicitis typically occurs when viruses or bacteria, introduced through sexual activity, miscarriage, childbirth, or uterine procedures, enter the cervix and cause inflammation.

Category

Cervicitis can be classified into two types:

  • Acute Cervicitis: Acute Cervicitis occurs when the cervical tissue is invaded by bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens, causing acute inflammation. It typically involves the spread of the infection to the cervical glands, leading to congestion and swelling of the cervix. Common pathogens such as Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Chlamydia, and Herpes Virus.
     
  • Chronic Cervicitis: Chronic Cervicitis may develop when acute Cervicitis is not effectively treated, leading to persistent inflammation. This condition can result in erosion of the cervical epithelium and is often observed in pregnant women, postpartum women, or individuals using contraceptive medications.

Symptoms

The symptoms of cervicitis can vary based on its type (acute or chronic), underlying causes, and individual differences. Here are some possible symptoms of cervicitis:

Symptoms of Acute Cervicitis

  1. Cervical Pain: Sensation of burning or discomfort in the cervical area.
  2. Leucorrhoea: Increased, discoloured, or foul-smelling discharge, which may be caused by cervicitis.
  3. Fever: Fever is more common in acute cervicitis caused by bacterial infections.
  4. Frequent Urination: Cervicitis may exert pressure on the bladder, leading to a feeling of needing to urinate more frequently.
  5. Pain During Intercourse: Pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse.

Symptoms of Chronic Cervicitis

  1. Mild Cervical Pain: Patients may experience mild cervical pain or discomfort.
  2. Leucorrhoea Increased discharge, but not necessarily with a strong odour or discolouration.

Factors

The common causes of cervicitis can be categorized into the following three types:

  1. Sexually transmitted infections: Infections transmitted through sexual activity, such as gonorrhoea, streptococcus, staphylococcus, chlamydia, herpes simplex virus, and human papillomavirus (HPV) types 6 and 11.
  2. Bacterial overgrowth: When the immune system is weakened, or hygiene practices are inadequate, there is a chance of excessive growth of vaginal bacteria, leading to bacterial vaginosis, which can then ascend and cause infection in the cervix.
  3. Allergic reactions: Allergic reactions to materials such as latex in contraceptives, condoms, or ingredients in intimate hygiene products can potentially trigger cervicitis.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of cervicitis typically involves a professional medical assessment, and doctors may employ various methods to confirm the diagnosis. 
Here are standard diagnostic methods for cervicitis:

Pelvic ExaminationDoctors perform a pelvic examination to assess the condition of the cervix. A Pap smear may also be conducted during this examination.
Pap SmearThe primary purpose of the Pap Smear is to detect changes in cervical cells, aiming to identify cervicitis, precancerous lesions, or cervical cancer at an early stage.
Imaging InvestigationImaging such as Pelvic Ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI, provide detailed information about the structure and abnormalities in the cervical region, aiding further treatment decisions.
CA-125 Blood TestCA-125 is a blood test that measures a tumour marker. It may be used to assess whether there are any cancerous changes associated with cervicitis.
Pathogen TestingIf infection is suspected to cause cervicitis, doctors may conduct pathogen testing, including bacterial or viral tests, to identify the specific infectious agent

Treatments

The treatment for cervicitis depends on the cause of inflammation and the severity of symptoms. Here are some treatment methods for cervicitis:

MedicationDepending on the pathogen causing cervicitis, doctors may prescribe targeted medications, including antibiotics, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Cryotherapy (Cervical Freezing)For specific cervical abnormalities or viral infections, doctors may recommend cryotherapy, a procedure that freezes and destroys abnormal cells.
Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP)In cases of severe cervical abnormalities, doctors may suggest LEEP, a procedure that uses an electrically charged wire loop to remove abnormal tissue.

FAQ

There is a specific association between Cervicitis and cervical cancer. Most cases of cervical cancer are related to infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). Cervicitis may be caused by HPV infection, especially certain high-risk types of HPV. Cervicitis itself is usually benign, but when combined with an infection of high-risk HPV, abnormal changes in cervical cells may increase the risk of cervical cancer.
While most cases of Cervicitis cannot be prevented, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, receiving HPV vaccines, avoiding high-risk sexual behaviours, undergoing regular gynaecological examinations, and seeking early treatment can help reduce the risk of cervical infection and related complications.

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