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Diagnosis of cervicitis

If you are experiencing symptoms of cervicitis, it is essential to see your doctor. If it is cervicitis, it should be treated. Other vaginal and uterine conditions can cause similar symptoms, so an accurate diagnosis is important.

When you go to your appointment, your doctor will discuss your symptoms, sexual history, and any use of products with chemicals. Your doctor will also perform a pelvic exam that will allow them to:

  • View the vagina and cervix
  • Feel the pelvic organs for swelling and inflammation
  • Collect a sample from the cervix (similar to a Pap test)

The sample taken will be tested for STIs and other types of infection. It is also possible your doctor will order testing on a urine sample and a Pap test. If your Pap test comes back positive, your doctor may want to perform a colposcopy. This will allow them to get a close look at the cervix, take a sample or cervical biopsy to check for abnormal cells, and remove any abnormal cells.


Options for cervicitis treatment depend on the cause and severity. Treatment is not necessary for cases caused by trauma, irritation, or an allergic reaction. In these cases, it is often enough to avoid the likely trigger and allow the cervix to heal. If your birth control, IUD, or pessary (for example) may have caused cervicitis, our women’s health experts are available to discuss alternatives.

Our providers use prescription medication (typically antibiotics or antifungal medication) to treat most cases of infection-related cervicitis. If an STI is found, prompt and effective treatment is necessary because some STIs can cause serious complications, including infertility. You and your partner may both need treatment.


You can prepare for your appointment in a number of ways. First, it is important to schedule the appointment when you are not menstruating since a pelvic exam will be done.

It is also important to prepare a list of questions you have and be ready to discuss your symptoms and your sexual history. While this may be an uncomfortable topic, your doctor must be aware of the possibility that your cervicitis is the result of an STI. The information you will need to provide usually includes:

  • Whether you are sexually active
  • Your sexual partner’s name
  • The dates you had sex
  • Whether you or your partner have ever had an STI
  • Whether you have pain or bleeding during intercourse

In addition, do the following:

  • Do not douche
  • Do not use tampons
  • Know what you’re allergic to
  • Provide a list of the medications you are taking


With appropriate treatment, most cases of cervicitis clear up and do not cause any long-term complications. Those cases that are related to abnormal cervical cells or an STI will need further treatment for the root condition. To ensure you get the best cervicitis treatment as soon as possible, speak to one of our highly trained gynecologists at Dignity Health.


Two potential complications can result from cervicitis. The first of these is the possibility of infertility. Since the cervix acts as a barrier that protects the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries from infection, once the cervix is infected, the chance of infection getting into the rest of the reproductive system is higher. This includes the risk of developing a pelvic inflammatory disease, which can result in infertility.

The other potential complication is increased risk of getting HIV from a sexual partner who is HIV positive

The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.