The cervix is a cylindrical neck of tissue that connects the vagina and uterus. It is located at the bottom of the uterus. The cervix consists primarily of fibromuscular tissue. The cervix produces special mucus and changes its consistency during the menstrual cycle to prevent or contribute to fertilization.
The cervix is quite vulnerable to different infections and diseases. Some of these conditions can develop asymptomatically, while others can cause severe symptoms. If you have noticed that the cervical mucous has changed, the cervix is bleeding, or painful sensations occur, it can be a sign of some gynecological disorder.
In this case, it is essential to visit a doctor for a thorough diagnosis and accurate treatment. Otherwise, the condition can progress and worsen your symptoms. In this article, we have gathered four common conditions that can affect your cervix.
1. Sexually transmitted infections
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that can be spread between sexual partners during unprotected sex. There are a lot of these infections and most of them affect the cervix. The most common of them are:
- Genital herpes
- Human papillomavirus
STIs can cause a lot of unpleasant symptoms like pain during sex, abnormal discharge, unpleasant vaginal odor, etc. It is important to understand that the use of condoms during sex can decrease your chances to get these infections. Timely and proper treatment can help you cope with most STIs but all your sexual partners should also be examined and treated if needed.
2. Cervical cancer
Cervical cancer is a condition in which the cells of the cervix start to change and grow abnormally. Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by human papillomavirus. In the initial stages, cervical cancer usually doesn’t cause any obvious symptoms. That’s why regular gynecological examinations are essential for every woman.
In the advanced stages, cervical cancer can cause:
- Spotting (especially after sex)
- Abnormal vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor
- Pain during sex
Untreated cervical cancer can spread to other pelvic organs. That’s why it is essential to start the treatment of cervical cancer as soon as possible. There are a lot of non-invasive or minimally-invasive procedures that help remove the cancerous cells of the cervix.
Cervicitis is an inflammation of the cervix. It can occur because of STIs, allergic reactions, or bacterial overgrowth, called bacterial vaginosis, in your uterus. The most common symptoms of cervicitis include:
- Excessive vaginal discharge
- Pain during urination
- Pain during sex
Cervicitis treatment usually depends on the cause. For example, if your condition is caused by an allergic reaction to some products, you simply need to avoid them. In the case of STIs or bacterial overgrowth, cervicitis usually disappears after their treatment.
4. Cervical polyps
Cervical polyps are growths that occur on the cervix. The size of the growths can vary from a few millimeters to several centimeters. Most women with cervical polyps don’t have any severe symptoms. But some women can experience:
- Heavy bleeding during periods
- Spotting after sex
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
Even though most cervical polyps are benign (non-cancerous), some of them can still turn into cancer. That’s why it is better to remove cervical polyps and undergo additional testing line biopsy to exclude cancer. Cervical polyps can be treated easily and usually don’t reoccur after the removal.
The bottom line
Due to the fact that most conditions that affect the uterus can develop without severe symptoms, it is important to visit your gynecologist regularly for an exam. Early diagnosis can help start proper treatment on time. Fortunately, all the aforementioned conditions can be easily treated in the initial stages.
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Author: Amelia Grant
Amelia Grant is a journalist and blogger that believes information is a great force that is able to change people’s lives for the better. She has a strong passion for sharing useful and important things about health self-care, wellness and other advice that may be helpful for people. She is an enthusiast of a healthy lifestyle. You can check out her website for daily updates at Amelia’s Blog.