What is the definition of Cervicitis?

Cervicitis is swelling or inflamed tissue of the end of the uterus (cervix).

What are the alternative names for Cervicitis?

Cervical inflammation; Inflammation - cervix

What are the causes for Cervicitis?

Cervicitis is most often caused by an infection that is caught during sexual activity. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that can cause cervicitis include:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Herpes virus (genital herpes)
  • Human papilloma virus (genital warts)
  • Trichomoniasis

Other things that can cause cervicitis include:

  • A device inserted into the pelvic area such as a cervical cap, diaphragm, IUD, or pessary
  • Allergy to spermicides used for birth control
  • Allergy to latex in condoms
  • Exposure to a chemical
  • Reaction to douches or vaginal deodorants

Cervicitis is very common. It affects more than one half of all women at some point during their adult life. Causes include:

  • High-risk sexual behavior
  • History of STIs
  • Many sexual partners
  • Sex (intercourse) at an early age
  • Sexual partners who have engaged in high-risk sexual behavior or have had an STI

Too much growth of some bacteria that normally are present in the vagina (bacterial vaginosis) can also lead to cervical infection.

What are the symptoms for Cervicitis?

There may be no symptoms. If symptoms are present, these may include:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding that occurs after intercourse, or between periods
  • Unusual vaginal discharge that does not go away: discharge may be gray, white or yellow in color
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Pain in the vagina
  • Pressure or heaviness in the pelvis
  • Painful urination
  • Vaginal itching

Women who may be at risk for chlamydia should be tested for this infection, even if they do not have symptoms.

What are the current treatments for Cervicitis?

Antibiotics are used to treat chlamydia or gonorrhea. Medicines called antivirals may be used to treat herpes infections.

Hormonal therapy (with estrogen or progesterone) may be used in women who have reached menopause.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Cervicitis?

Most of the time, simple cervicitis usually heals with treatment if the cause is found and there is a treatment for that cause.

Most of the time, cervicitis does not cause any symptoms. It doesn't need treatment as long as tests for bacterial and viral causes are negative.

What are the possible complications for Cervicitis?

Cervicitis may last for months to years. Cervicitis may lead to pain with intercourse.

Untreated cervicitis may lead to inflammation involving the female pelvic organs, causing a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

When should I contact a medical professional for Cervicitis?

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of cervicitis.

How do I prevent Cervicitis?

Things you can do to reduce your risk of developing cervicitis include:

  • Avoid irritants such as douches and deodorant tampons.
  • Make sure that any foreign objects you insert into your vagina (such as tampons) are properly placed. Be sure to follow instructions on how long to leave it inside, how often to change it, or how often to clean it.
  • Make sure your partner is free of any STI. You and your partner should not have sex with any other people.
  • Use a condom every time you have sex to lower your risk of getting an STI. Condoms are available for both men and women, but are most commonly worn by the man. A condom must be used properly every time.


Abdallah M, Augenbraun MH, McCormack W. Vulvovaginitis and cervicitis. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 108.

Gardella C, Eckert LO, Lentz GM. Genital tract infections: vulva, vagina, cervix, toxic shock syndrome, endometritis, and salpingitis. In: Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Lentz GM, Valea FA, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 23.

Swygard H, Cohen MS. Approach to the patient with a sexually transmitted infection. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 269.

Workowski KA, Bolan GA; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2015. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2015;64(RR-03):1-137. PMID: 26042815 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26042815/.

  • Condition: Brucellosis-induced reproductive system damage
  • Journal: The Journal of international medical research
  • Treatment Used: Rifampicin+doxycycline
  • Number of Patients: 22
  • Published —
The study researched brucellosis-induced reproductive system damage.
  • Condition: Herpes simplex Virus-2
  • Journal: Journal of ethnopharmacology
  • Treatment Used: Chinese herbal prescription JZ-1
  • Number of Patients: 0
  • Published —
The study researched the safety and effectiveness of Chinese herbal prescription JZ-1 for herpes simplex Virus-2.

There are no recent clinical trials available for this condition. Please check back because new trials are being conducted frequently.