Dr. M.J. Bazos, MD Patient Handout


About Your Diagnosis

Cervicitis is inflammation of the cervix. (The cervix is the structure that makes up the opening into the uterus.) Cervicitis can be caused by infections such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, or Trichomonas. Viral infections such as herpes or the virus that causes genital warts (human papillomavirus [HPV]) can also cause cervicitis. Sometimes cervicitis can be caused by a foreign body such as an intrauterine device (IUD), or by a forgotten tampon, diaphragm, or pessary. Cervicitis is very common. It is usually easily curable once the cause is diagnosed and the appropriate treatment instituted.

Living With Your Diagnosis
Cervicitis may not cause any symptoms and may only be discovered at a routine gynecologic examination. Sometimes cervicitis can cause increased vaginal discharge, which may appear yellow or creamy colored. Also, very slight vaginal bleeding may occur that may appear as a pinkish or brownish discharge. If cervicitis is caused by chlamydia or gonorrhea and the infection spreads into the fallopian tubes, it can cause pelvic pain and infertility. If cervicitis is caused by Trichomonas, you may experience itching, irritation, and increased vaginal discharge. Generally, Trichomonas does not cause pelvic pain or infertility. If cervicitis is caused by herpes, you probably will not have any symptoms. Herpes generally only causes symptoms if the herpes infection is external, on the vulva.

The treatment of cervicitis depends on the cause. If cervicitis is caused by chlamydia, gonorrhea, or Trichomonas, antibiotics are prescribed. Viruses cannot be cured, although a medication such as acyclovir can lessen the severity and shorten the duration of the symptoms. If an antibiotic is prescribed, sometimes a vaginal yeast infection will follow. Taking antibiotics can make it more likely to develop a yeast infection because the antibiotic “kills” the “healthy, protective” bacteria. Lack of the healthy bacteria allows
the yeast to grow. Medications that are used to treat herpes are generally well tolerated.

The DOs
• Take all your medication as prescribed, even if your symptoms resolve.
• If symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection develop, use an over-the-counter medication.
• Protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, Trichomonas, herpes, and the wart virus (human papillomavirus [HPV]); know your partner and have your partner use a condom.

The DON’Ts
• If metronidazole (Flagyl) is prescribed for a Trichomonas infection, do not drink any alcoholic beverage. Combining metronidazole and an alcoholic beverage can cause severe nausea.

When to Call Your Doctor
• If you continue to have symptoms such as increased vaginal discharge or slight vaginal bleeding after the medication has been completed.
• If a fever or pelvic pain develops while you are taking medication.
• If you do not tolerate the medication for any reason (e.g., the medication causes nausea), or you have allergic symptoms or signs develop (e.g., a rash).