Also known as cervicitis, it is an inflammation of the cervix (the neck and the outlet of the uterus, to be more specific).
Endocervicitis can be caused by a vaginal infection, a sexually transmitted disease (such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, or genital herpes), or cervical lesions by birth, abortion, or surgery in the uterus.
Cervicitis can represent an acute or chronic condition.
How is it diagnosed?
History: Acute endocervicitis is often asymptomatic and may be an incidental finding during a routine pelvic examination.
Although acute Endocervicitis may be asymptomatic, chronic Endocervicitis may include the following symptoms: abnormally veiled vaginal discharge, pain during sexual intercourse, vaginal bleeding after intercourse, painful menstrual periods, bleeding between periods, pain in the lower abdominal area, the pain of the back, fever, pain when urinating and change in urinary frequency or urgency.
A yellowish discharge may indicate a chlamydial infection.
Physical examination: with the pelvic examination, it is observed and perceived that the cervix is inflamed and that, therefore, there may be a discharge.
Genital herpes can be seen as a blister or open sore on the cervix. The exam may also reveal red, granular, irregular lesions on the outer area of the cervix.
Tests: samples of any discharge are taken and analyzed to identify the responsible microorganism. The most accurate tests involve culturing the culture in the laboratory, but test results are unavailable for up to three days.
Several rapid tests have been developed using dye to detect bacterial or viral proteins (chlamydia or herpes), and a Gram stain is a rapid test for gonorrhea. The tests can be done at the time of the office visit.
Chlamydia, however, is easily confused with gonorrhea because its symptoms are very similar and often occur together. Therefore, many doctors prefer both test methods to increase diagnostic accuracy.
How is Endocervicitis treated?
Depending on the cause of the infection, the treatment is with antibiotics. Herpes infections are treated with Acyclovir, which controls but does not cure the infection and provides symptomatic relief.
Because chlamydia and gonorrhea are sexually transmitted, the individual’s sexual partner must also be treated.
If the symptoms persist, the infected tissue of the cervix is destroyed by heat (cauterization), freezing (cryotherapy), or laser therapy.
Minor injuries to the cervix (such as a break in the side wall that can occur during labor) are repaired, usually immediately after delivery.
Medicines useful for Endocervicitis
Oral antibiotics if infectious Endocervicitis is suspected
Antiviral vaginal creams, suppositories, or antibiotics can be prescribed to fight infections.
What can complicate it?
If left untreated, the infection can spread to the lining of the uterus (endometritis) or the fallopian tubes (salpingitis) and be a causative factor of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
These conditions increase the risk of infertility, tubal pregnancy, and the development of chronic pelvic pain. A pregnant woman with untreated Endocervicitis can infect her baby during delivery.
Eye infections in the newborn (neonatal ophthalmia) can lead to blindness. Chlamydia can also cause childhood pneumonia.
With proper treatment, a full recovery is expected.
Similar alternative diseases
Other conditions that cause similar symptoms include pelvic inflammatory disease, vaginitis, cervical cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, or urinary tract infection.
Appropriate specialists to treat Endocervicitis
It is always recommended that you consult a gynecologist or an infectious disease specialist.
Notify your doctor if:
- You or a member of your family has symptoms of Endocervicitis.
- During the treatment, the discomfort persists for more than one week, or the symptoms worsen.
- During or after treatment, unexplained vaginal bleeding or inflammation develops.
- New unexplained symptoms develop. The medications used in the treatment can produce side effects.
Endocarditis is more commonly due to infection than to non-infectious causes, and there are a variety of causes and risk factors that include:
- Vaginal infections
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) (e.g., gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis)
- HIV infection
- Infection with the herpes virus (genital herpes)
- Infection with human papillomavirus (HPV, genital warts)
- Start of sexual activity at an early age
- Multiple sexual partners
- History of sexually transmitted disease
- Injury or irritation of the cervix
- Cervical irritation may be due to chemicals contained in douching and forgotten intravaginal foreign bodies, such as tampons.
- Cervical irritation can make the cervix more susceptible to infection.
- Allergies to the ingredients contained in contraceptive spermicides or latex in condoms
What are the symptoms and signs?
Clinical Endocervicitis often has no signs or symptoms.
The most common sign of Endocervicitis is vaginal discharge, which is often heavier after menstruation. Other signs of Endocervicitis include:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Vaginal itching
- Irritation of the external genitalia.
- Pain during intercourse
- I am bleeding or spotting after intercourse or between periods.
- A burning sensation when urinating
- Pain in the lower back or abdominal pain, sometimes only during sexual intercourse
A more severe case of Endocervicitis can cause a profuse, pus-like (purulent) discharge with an unpleasant odor, accompanied by intense vaginal itching or abdominal pain.
If the infection spreads to other organs, there may be fever, nausea, and abdominal pain.
Can a woman get Endocervicitis from a male sexual partner with a urinary tract infection (UTI)?
If the male sexual partner is diagnosed with urethritis (a urinary tract infection) or has symptoms of this condition (i.e., pain or burning during urination, discharge from the penis, or spots on the underwear), the man should seek care medical immediately.
A woman can quickly become infected again if an infected partner does not receive treatment.
How long does it take to cure cervicitis?
Patients are advised not to have sexual intercourse until the treatment is completed and all symptoms have been resolved for at least seven days.
In some people, it has been shown that a single dose of medication, which may include injection, eradicates the disease.
In other people, the health professional may prescribe the more extended treatment necessary for healing.
The couple should also be treated if the infection comes from an STD.
Sexual intercourse should not be resumed until after both partners have been treated and the follow-up tests in both are negative.
Endocervicitis, if found in a young person or a child, often indicates sexual abuse.
What are the complications?
Untreated microbial Endocervicitis can spread through the genital tract, infecting the uterus lining (endometritis) and the fallopian tubes (salpingitis). Such generalized infections can lead to infertility.
Dissemination of the pelvic organs can cause pelvic inflammatory disease. This severe infection affects the upper genital tract and results in adhesions and blockage of the tubes.
If Endocervicitis due to an STD is present during pregnancy, the baby may be infected at the time of delivery, which can cause an eye infection in the newborn that can lead to blindness.
Less frequently, the baby may develop pneumonia caused by a chlamydial infection present on the cervix at the delivery time.
Can Endocervicitis be prevented?
Infectious causes of Endocervicitis can be prevented by using safe common sense sexual practices. A woman should:
- Limit your number of sexual contacts and be aware of the sexual histories of your partners.
- Condoms should be used routinely to prevent STDs.
- Use, in addition to condoms, some broad-spectrum spermicides recommended by a medical specialist since they can also contribute to preventing Endocervicitis.
- Seek immediate treatment for suspicious vaginal infections before the cervix becomes infected.
- Perform regular physical exams and PAP tests, regardless of infection symptoms, especially if it is sexually active.
- Recommend that your partner be examined periodically to detect any STD present.
- Avoid chemical irritants in the vagina (usually found in tampons, douches, or deodorized sprays).