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Cervicitis (cont.)


What Are Cervicitis Symptoms and Signs?

Clinical cervicitis frequently has no signs or symptoms.

The most common sign of cervicitis is vaginal discharge, which is frequently heavier following menstruation. Other signs of cervicitis include:

  1. Vaginal bleeding
  2. Vaginal itching
  3. Irritation of the external genitals.
  4. Pain during intercourse.
  5. Bleeding or spotting after sexual intercourse or between periods.
  6. A burning sensation during urination
  7. Lower back or abdominal pain, sometimes felt only during sexual intercourse
  8. A more severe case of cervicitis can cause a profuse, pus-like (purulent) discharge with an unpleasant odor, accompanied by intense vaginal itching or abdominal pain.
  9. If the infection spreads to other organs, there may be accompanying fever, nausea, and abdominal pain.

Can a Woman Get Cervicitis From a Male Sex Partner With a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?

If woman's male sex partner is diagnosed with urethritis (a urinary tract infection) or if he has symptoms of this condition (i.e. pain or burning with urination, penile discharge, or staining of the underwear), the man should immediately seek medical care. If an infected partner is not treated, a woman may easily become re-infected.

Is There a Test to Diagnose Cervicitis?

Patient history

When a possible diagnosis of cervicitis is considered, a health-care professional will obtain a medical history and focus upon specific symptoms. These issues will include recent contraceptive usage, a sexual history, and a history of prior pregnancies and deliveries.

Pelvic exam

A pelvic exam will typically be performed.

  • An instrument called a speculum will be inserted into the vagina to hold the vaginal walls apart, thus permitting an inspection of the cervix and vaginal walls for redness, irritation, unusual discharge, or sores.
  • The doctor will collect a sample for a Pap smear by swabbing the cervix. The doctor will also collect samples to test for gonorrhea and Chlamydia. He also may collect vaginal discharge for microscopic examination to rule out other infections. The Pap smear is used to rule out pre-cancerous or malignant changes of the cervix.
  • The pelvic organs will then be evaluated manually with both hands. The doctor will insert two fingers of his hand into the vagina with the fingers of the other hand pressing downward on the abdominal wall. This procedure allows the doctor to determine the size and location of the uterus and cervix, as well as to check for pain, tenderness, or any other irregularity. This part of the exam creates pressure in the lower abdomen and pelvic area. While the perception of pressure is normal, frank pain should be absent. If pain is experienced, the doctor should be told. Pain can be felt when the cervix is moved from side to side in cervicitis.


  • If the cervix appears abnormal a biopsy of sample of tissue may be taken.
  • Colposcopy is a procedure which employs a binocular-like instrument to obtain a magnified view of the surface of the cervix in order to delineate abnormalities that might not be visible with the naked eye.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/28/2016

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Cervicitis is an inflammation of the uterine cervix.

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