Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link
Quick Facts



The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Jun 2021| Content last modified Jun 2021
Click here for the Professional Version
Get the full details
Topic Resources

What is the cervix?

Your cervix is the lower part of your uterus at the top of your vagina. Your vagina connects your uterus (where a baby grows when you're pregnant) to the outside of your body.

What is cervicitis?

Cervicitis is when your cervix is irritated.

  • The cause is usually an STD (sexually transmitted disease)

  • You may not have any symptoms, or you may have discharge (thick liquid) and bleeding from your vagina

  • If you have yellow-green or pus-like discharge, bleeding that isn’t part of your monthly periods, or pain during sex, see your doctor

  • Doctors will usually prescribe antibiotics

  • Untreated cervicitis can spread and harm the rest of your uterus

Internal Female Genital Organs

Internal Female Genital Organs

What causes cervicitis?

Infections that causes cervicitis

Sometimes vaginal infections, such as bacterial vaginosis and Trichomonas vaginitis also affect the cervix.

Other causes of cervicitis

  • Objects left in your vagina too long, such as diaphragms

  • Chemicals in douches or birth control creams

  • Use of latex condoms, if you have a latex allergy

What are the symptoms of cervicitis?

Cervicitis may not cause symptoms. When it does, you may have:

  • A vaginal discharge that may be yellow-green or pus-like

  • Vaginal bleeding between your monthly periods or after sex

  • Pain during sex, when urinating (peeing), or both

  • Redness around the opening of your vagina

How can my doctor tell if I have cervicitis?

Your doctor will suspect cervicitis based on your symptoms. To tell for sure, your doctor will do a pelvic exam. During a pelvic exam, your doctor looks inside your vagina, holding it open with a small instrument called a speculum. Doctors will:

  • Take a sample of any discharge for testing

  • Touch your cervix with a cotton swab to see if it bleeds easily

How will my doctor treat cervicitis?

Because gonorrhea and chlamydia are the most likely cause of cervicitis, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to treat those diseases. You can usually take these by mouth at home, but you may also need a shot.

Your doctor may tell you to:

  • Stop having sex until you're done with your medicine and your infection gets better

  • Ask your sex partner to get tested for STDs

After 3 to 6 months, your doctor will test you again to see if your infection has gone away.

How can I prevent cervicitis?

You can't always prevent cervicitis. To lower your risk:

  • Have sex with only one partner

  • Use condoms during sex

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
Click here for the Professional Version
Others also read

Test your knowledge

Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas
Non-Hodgkin lymphomas are a group of cancers that develop in white blood cells known as lymphocytes. Although there are more than 50 different disorders that can be called non-Hodgkin lymphoma, doctors sometimes group them into two broad categories: indolent lymphomas and aggressive lymphomas. Which of the following is characteristic of aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphomas? 
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID

Also of Interest

Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID