Alternate Names : Cervical inflammation, Inflammation – cervix
Cervicitis is swelling (inflammation) of the end of the uterus (cervix).
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Cervicitis is most often caused by an infection, usually caught during sexual activity. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that can cause cervicitis include:
- Herpes virus (genital herpes)
- Human papilloma virus (genital warts)
However, in a few cases it may be due to:
- A device inserted into the pelvic area such as:
- Cervical cap
- Device to support the uterus (pessary)
- An allergy to spermicides used for birth control or to latex in condoms
- Exposure to a chemical
Cervicitis is very common, affecting more than half of all women at some point during their adult life. Risks include:
- High-risk sexual behavior
- History of STDs
- Many sexual partners
- Sex (intercourse) at an early age
- Sexual partner(s) who have engaged in high-risk sexual behavior or have had an STD
Bacteria (such as staphylococcus and streptococcus) and too much growth of normal bacteria in the vagina (bacterial vaginosis), can also cause cervicitis.
Pictures & Images
Female reproductive anatomy
External structures of the female reproductive anatomy include the labium minora and majora, the vagina and the clitoris. Internal structures include the uterus, ovaries and cervix.
Cervicitis is the inflammation of the cervix. It is usually caused by an infection but may also be caused by chemical exposure or the presence of a foreign body.
The uterus is a hollow muscular organ located in the female pelvis between the bladder and rectum. The ovaries produce the eggs that travel through the fallopian tubes. Once the egg has left the ovary it can be fertilized and implant itself in the lining of the uterus. The main function of the uterus is to nourish the developing fetus prior to birth.
Review Date : 2/21/2010
Reviewed By : Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.