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The cervix is a very complex organ even if it one of the smaller ones along the female reproductive tract. When working fine, it helps provide a passageway along the birth canal between the vaginal opening and the uterus but it is also an organ that can be involved with several different pathologies that women need to be aware of during their lifetime.

When we use the term cervicitis in patients, this is a medical condition referring to inflammation of the cervix. It can be caused by a number of diseases but most of the time, the origins can be linked with sexually transmitted diseases like Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. Patients will present with a combination of cervical discharge that can be foul-smelling. Doctors will also notice that the cervix will be discolored and appear to be “strawberry red” in color. Although symptoms alone are enough to make a diagnosis of cervicitis, a doctor may also want to confirm the presence of a potential STD using a test called nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT). This is a test that a woman can do on her own using a specialized cotton swab. The woman will have to sample the fluid discharged from the cervix and then bring the sample with her to the doctor for further testing. 

When the test is confirmed that the patient is, in fact, suffering from an STD, the treatment is straightforward. They will need to take a combination of ceftriaxone and azithromycin as a single dose to help rid themselves of the infection. This is a treatment a woman will not want to delay because these STDs are capable of causing conditions like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is a condition where women can notice fibrosis in their uterine tubes and can actually lose their ability to become pregnant. Making sure you are treated adequately for the disease as well as practicing safe sex is the most effective strategy to fight against this disease. 

STDs are the most likely cause of cervicitis but women also need to practice adequate hygiene in order to help reduce the chance of an intrauterine infection that can also be accompanied by cervicitis. The most likely causes of these infections would be prolonged tampon use during their periods. It is important that women routinely change their pads and not leave the tampon inside of their vagina for a prolonged period of time. Bacteria tend to aggregate to tampons and can easily lead to more severe infections. Also, when having a bowel movement, an important thing to remember is to wipe from front to back. 

Frequent sexual intercourse could also be a cause of cervical irritation. Using vibrators, dildos or when having intercourse without lubricant can also cause friction of the surface of the cervix that can lead to inflammation. Women do not have to reduce their frequency of sexual intercourse to avoid this problem but should try to use some type of lubricant to help reduce the tension and friction put on the cervix. 

When women go to the doctor for a Pap smear, the main reason for doing this is to check to make sure that the cells around the cervix are fine. This zone is referred to the transition zone in medicine and is comprised of 2 distinctive cell types that form 3 zones. This is an area in a woman’s body that can be prone to cancerous transformation so it is imperative that women routinely go for cervical cancer screening to make sure they are healthy. The recommendations for how often and at what age screening is recommended depends on the country you reside in but you should be meeting at least every 3 to 5 years no matter what country you live in. Make an appointment with a gynecologist to make sure that you are not suffering from a very treatable but deadly form of cancer should you miss it. Cervical cancer is a disease that can be confused with cervicitis so it is something that you should check out.

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