Cervicitis is an inflammation or infection of the cervix (also known as the cervix), which is the thick tissue organ that connects the uterus to the vagina. This condition can occur due to several factors such as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), allergies and chemical or physical irritations. To effectively treat cervicitis, a doctor needs to identify the cause of the infection and prescribe medication for proper treatment.
Part 1 of 4: Diagnosing Cervicitis
Step 1. Watch for symptoms of cervicitis
In some women, inflammation does not produce symptoms, making them unaware of the infection until a doctor performs a routine gynecological exam. However, some women notice manifestations of the disease, such as the following:
- Unusual vaginal discharge, odorous and yellow or gray in color.
- Blood spots between menstrual periods or after intercourse.
- A feeling of heaviness in the lower abdomen, especially during intercourse.
- A burning or itchy feeling when urinating.
Step 2. Allow the doctor to perform a pelvic exam
The symptoms of cervicitis can easily be confused with the manifestations of other conditions, so don't try to diagnose it yourself. Contact your gynecologist or go to an emergency room if you suspect you have cervicitis. If your doctor also suspects that this type of inflammation is present, your doctor will do a normal pelvic exam using a speculum to look at your cervix.
If the pelvic exam confirms cervicitis, the gynecologist will ask the patient for laboratory tests to confirm the inflammation and determine the cause. Some of the possible tests involve culturing the discharge from the cervix, the organ's own cells, blood counts and, in sexually active people, tests to detect STDs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia
Step 3. Determine the cause of cervicitis
With proper exams, the doctor will be able to identify the cause of the disease. There are two types of cervicitis: infectious (also known as “acute”) and non-infectious (called “chronic”). Infectious and non-infectious variations of cervicitis have several possible causes, requiring different treatment methods.
- The infectious one is almost always caused by a virus. A sexually transmitted disease (STD) such as human papilloma (HPV), gonorrhea or chlamydia are some of the possible “culprits”. Treatment is usually through antiviral medications.
- Non-infectious can be caused by several aspects, such as foreign bodies – intrauterine devices and cervical caps, for example – allergic reactions to latex during sexual intercourse and also to vaginal douches and many other products that can irritate the vagina and cervix. uterus. Treatment is usually with antibiotics, removing the agent that is causing the problem.
Part 2 of 4: Treating infectious cervicitis with medications
Step 1. Consume antibiotics prescribed to fight sexually transmitted diseases
If the infection was caused by an STD, such as HPV, chlamydia, syphilis, or gonorrhea, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to treat you.
- Your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic called ceftriaxone for women with gonorrhea. It can be given as a single 250 mg injection. In advanced or more severe infections, the dose may be increased with an oral antibiotic to reinforce treatment. In addition to such drugs, azithromycin or doxycycline will also be used in the treatment of chlamydia, since in most cases patients have both diseases, transmitted through sexual intercourse.
- Azithromycin will be recommended for women with chlamydia and is consumed in a single 1 g oral dose. The other options are: erythromycin, doxycycline or ofloxacin, which are mostly taken for seven days. In addition, the doctor will prescribe ceftriaxone to treat gonorrhea, as it is common for both infections to coexist.
- If you have trichomoniasis, the antibiotic flagyl will be prescribed. It is given in a single dose.
- Women with syphilis should be treated with penicillin. A single dose should be enough to fight and cure the infection in the early stages (when it was contracted less than a year ago). In more advanced cases, more injections or other types of treatment will be needed. If the patient is allergic to penicillin, the best medicine is azithromycin.
Step 2. Take antiviral medications if prescribed
When infectious cervicitis is caused by a virus such as genital herpes, your doctor will prescribe antiviral drugs to fight it.
Genital herpes is treated with the antiviral drug acyclovir, which is consumed for five days. The medications valaciclovir (Valtrex) or famciclovir (Famvir) can also be prescribed, with a treatment period of three and one day, respectively. When the case is severe, additional procedures or increased dosages may be administered. Remember that genital herpes is a chronic, lifelong infection that requires ongoing treatment after you get it
Step 3. Communicate to sexual partners that they need to be tested for cervicitis
Sexually active women with infectious cervicitis should inform their partners who need to be tested to find out if they have contracted the disease. Infections transmitted through sexual intercourse can be present in men and women without any manifestation of symptoms, causing STD carriers to end up infecting their partners again in the future. Ask all partners to take STD screening.
Step 4. Follow your doctor's recommendations and take your medications correctly
It is also important to tell him if you are pregnant (or could become), nursing, or have any other health problems before receiving any medication. Contact your doctor if there are adverse reactions to medications such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and allergies.
Cervicitis can become a serious problem in the long term if it is not treated with the right medications and if enough time is not given for the infection to be cured. Through the treatment and administration of proper remedies, it is possible to fully recover from this illness. However, women with genital herpes will have to commit to treating it for the rest of their lives, as it is a chronic infection
Part 3 of 4: Treating non-infectious cervicitis with surgery
Step 1. Consider the possibility of performing cryosurgery
When non-infectious cervicitis is persistent, it may be necessary to treat the problem surgically through cryosurgery, also known as “cold therapy”.
- Cryosurgery involves using extreme cold to destroy affected parts of tissue. A cryoprobe, an instrument with liquid nitrogen, is inserted into the vagina. Cold and compressed, the nitrogen leaves the instrument cold enough to destroy “diseased” tissue. Freezing is done for three minutes; then, the “thaw” of the cervix is performed so that freezing is repeated for another three minutes.
- Cryosurgery is relatively painless, but there can be bleeding, cramping and, in more serious cases, infections and injuries. In the two or three weeks after surgery, it is normal for a watery discharge from the vagina, which occurs due to the scaling of necrotic cervical tissue.
Step 2. Talk to the doctor and ask about cauterization
Another possible surgical treatment to treat non-infectious cervicitis is cauterization.
- This outpatient procedure burns inflamed or infected cells. The woman should lie on her back with her legs in stirrups; a speculum will be inserted into the vagina to keep it open. The cervix is cleaned with a cervico-vaginal smear and a hot probe is used to destroy the dead tissue.
- Anesthesia can be helpful to avoid discomfort before cauterization. The patient may suffer from cramping, bleeding and watery discharge for up to four weeks. If the discharge is smelly or the bleeding is very heavy, go to the emergency room or contact a gynecologist.
Step 3. Learn about laser therapy
A third surgical alternative to combat non-infectious cervicitis is laser therapy.
- Laser therapy is usually performed in a surgical environment, under anesthesia. The process is done using an intense laser beam or light to burn the affected tissues. A speculum is inserted into the vagina to open it, with the beam being directed to places where tissues are necrotic.
- Anesthesia limits discomfort during the procedure. Thereafter, cramps and watery discharge with blood may appear for two to three weeks. If the bleeding is heavy, the discharge has an unpleasant odor, or the pelvis pain is severe, call your gynecologist when you go to the emergency room.
Part 4 of 4: Treating Cervicitis Symptoms at Home
Step 1. Refrain from sexual intercourse
Cervicitis cannot be cured without medical care, especially if it is an infectious type. However, there are some homemade measures that will make the woman more comfortable, helping the effectiveness of prescribed treatments. It is important not to have sex until the doctor confirms that the infection has been cured.
If the cervicitis is infectious, it is important to be careful not to spread the bacteria or virus. Even if it isn't, avoid having sex, as the cervix can become even more irritated and make the symptoms more pronounced
Step 2. Avoid components that irritate the vagina
Do not use products or methods that cause inflammation of the vagina or cervix, such as douches and tampons.
- Use normal sanitary napkins and not tampons.
- Avoid flavored soaps, sprays or lotions. Components of such products may cause irritation.
- Do not use a diaphragm as a contraceptive method.
Step 3. Wear comfortable, cotton underwear
Avoid those that are too tight, that limit movement, and that are made from synthetic fabrics, as this can cause irritation and moisture to build up in the genital area. Look for underwear made from 100% cotton so the place can “breathe” and stay clean.