Cervical Infection Treatment

by Garreth Myers

The lower part of the uterus that protrudes into the vagina is known as the cervix. The cervix acts as a barrier between the vagina and the uterus and fallopian tubes and prevents bacteria and viral infections from entering. However, there are conditions that can cause the cervix to become infected or inflamed and this can significantly weaken the ability of the cervix to protect the reproductive organs. There are many cases where a woman may not be aware of a cervical problem until the results of a pap smear or an internal exam indicate the presence of an infection. Cervicitis or the infection of the cervix could cause a number of different symptoms such as:

  • An increase in vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal bleeding after intercourse, post menopause and in between the menstrual cycle
  • Foul smelling vaginal discharge
  • Yellow, grey or white vaginal discharge
  • Pain in the pelvic area
  • A feeling of pressure and discomfort in the uterus and vagina
  • Spotting in between menstrual cycles
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Swollen vulva
In addition to the symptoms listed above, a woman could also experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Itchiness of the vulva and vagina
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Abdominal pain
  • Leg or back pain
  • Changes in frequency of urination and bowel movements
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Edema of the legs
Many conditions may cause cervical infection symptoms but the most common reason is the presence of a sexually transmitted disease such as Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Herpes, Trichomoniasis, or Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Other reasons for developing a cervical infection are:

  • Bacterial vaginitis
  • Trauma to the cervix
  • A toxic reaction as a result of leaving a tampon in for a long time
  • An allergic reaction to latex condoms
  • An allergic reaction to a douche or a feminine hygiene product
  • Other devices inserted into the vagina that may cause a cervical infection include cervical caps, diaphragm, and uterine pressaries
  • An allergic reaction to spermicides
  • Exposure to certain chemicals
  • Cervical cancer
  • Cervical dysplasia (precancerous changes of the cervical cells)
When left untreated, an infected cervix can lead to cancer, PID or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, and infertility and can increase the risk of spontaneous abortion or ectopic pregnancies. Keep in mind that cervical infections cannot be treated by over-the-counter medications and should not be disregarded. If you suspect that you may have a cervical infection, consult a doctor or specialist at the earliest and seek medical help.

Treatment for a cervical infection will depend on the cause of the condition. For instance, for a cervical bacterial infection such as Chlamydia or Gonorrhea, a course of antibiotics is usually prescribed. In cases of viral infections such as herpes, anti-viral medications are recommended. If a cervical infection occurs along with menopause, hormone therapy may be required to treat the imbalance causing the infection. In case none of these treatments are successful or if the infection becomes chronic, more aggressive forms of treatment include laser therapy, cryosurgery or freezing, or electro-cauterization. Cryosurgery or freezing however is only used to destroy abnormal cells. For stronger infections and an overproduction of abnormal cells, you may require electro-cauterization to kill the cells. Another procedure known as loop excision also removes the infected cells. If you are pregnant and diagnosed with a cervical infection, you will need an infectious disease specialist to guide your treatment and recovery.

If you have a history of sexually transmitted diseases, have multiple sexual partners, or started having sexual intercourse from an early age, you fall into the high-risk category for cervical infections. It is necessary for you to have regular pap smears and get tested for STIs to prevent any infections of the genito-urinary tract. Other ways to prevent cervical infections include:

  • Limit your sexual relations and number of partners
  • Practice safe sex by using condoms along with spermicides
  • During the course of the treatment and until the symptoms disappear, avoid all forms of sexual intercourse
  • Avoid douches and products such as feminine washes and deodorant tampons
  • Follow instructions regarding the insertion and use of tampons and diaphragms especially regarding how long they can be left inside the vagina and how often they need to be changed
  • Clean contraceptive devices such as diaphragms and cervical caps after every use
  • An important part of the recovery process is to ensure that your partner does not suffer from any infection or sexually transmitted disease as well. If your partner is not treated, you will suffer from a recurring infection. Therefore do not have sexual relations with your partner until both of you are treated.
References:
  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001495.htm
  2. http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2010/default.htm

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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