Cervicitis Symptoms and Treatment

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Cervicitis is characterized by the irritation and inflammation of the cervix, which is the opening to the uterus.

Cervicitis may occur as a result of a sexually transmitted infection, most commonly, gonorrhea and chlamydia. Genital herpes and trichomnoniasis may also cause cervicitis in some cases. Sometimes, cervicitis may not occur due to infection, but from trauma, exposure to chemicals and frequent douching.

Signs and symptoms

Usually cervicitis does not cause any symptoms at all however; some women may experience vaginal itching, pain during intercourse, bloody vaginal discharge, vaginal spotting or vaginal bleeding typically after intercourse, in between monthly periods.

If the urethra becomes infected as well, a burning sensation may be felt during urination and women may experience a frequent urge to urinate as well. Cervicitis can also spread to the uterus, the ovaries and the fallopian tubes. This is called pelvic inflammatory disease and may cause symptoms such as fever or abdominal pain.

Medical emergenciesWhen to seek medical attention

If you experience the following, see a health care provider:

  • Recurrent pain during sexual intercourse
  • A new vaginal discharge
  • A vaginal discharge which appears to be different in color

For symptoms such as abdominal pain or fever, immediate medical help should be sought.


Treatment depends on the type of infection the woman has. Risk factors for sexually transmitted infections and diseases, for example, unprotected sex, multiple or new sexual partners etc. may increase the likelihood of the person having an infection. Additionally, physical examination can also suggest that a person has cervicitis, after which, the person will be directed to begin treatment for the infection with antibiotics until test results return.

In case of bacterial infections, gonorrhea is often treated with antibiotic injections, whereas, antibiotics for chlamydia are most likely to be taken orally. If a person is allergic to the antibiotics prescribed, the doctor may prescribe an alternative.

For viral infections such as genital herpes, antiviral medications will be prescribed as antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections. You may have to continue medication for the first ten days after contracting the infection. If genital herpes is recurrent, you can continue medication for three to five more days.

If you have a sexually transmitted disease, it is important that you notify your current sexual partner(s) about having a proper diagnosis and treatment with a health care professional.

Cervicitis that is causes as a result of trauma or an intrauterine device (IUD) can be treated with antibiotics that work against the bacteria causing the infection. The inflammation and irritation caused may take about a few weeks to resolve, therefore, it is important that you avoid sexual intercourse in the meantime to prevent symptoms from getting worse and heal properly.

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