CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
Two types of cells line your cervix: flat, skin-like cells (squamous cells) and glandular cells that secrete mucus. The same organisms responsible for vaginitis, an inflammation of the vagina, can cause cervicitis.
Your cervix acts as a barrier to keep bacteria and viruses from entering your uterus. When the cervix is infected, there is an increased risk that the infection will travel into your uterus.
Possible causes of cervicitis include:
- Sexually transmitted infections. Most often, the bacterial and viral infections that cause cervicitis are transmitted by sexual contact. Cervicitis can result from common sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis and genital herpes. There's no evidence that human papillomavirus (HPV), another common sexually transmitted infection, causes cervicitis.
- Allergic reactions. An allergy, either to contraceptive spermicides or to latex in condoms, may lead to cervicitis.
- Bacterial overgrowth. An overgrowth of some of the bacteria that are normally present in the vagina (bacterial vaginosis) also can lead to cervicitis.
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- Marrazzo J. Cervicitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Oct. 17, 2011.
- Eckert LO, et al. Infections of the lower genital tract: Vulva, vagina, cervix, toxic shock syndrome, HIV infections. In: Katz VL, et al. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/161833431-5/0/1524/147.html?tocnode=53759472&fromURL=147.html. Accessed Oct. 17, 2011.
- Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines 2010: Diseases characterized by urethritis and cervicitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2010/urethritis-and-cervicitis.htm. Accessed Oct. 17, 2011.
- Marrazzo JM. Cervicitis. In: Klausner JD, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2007. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aid=3025026. Accessed Oct. 18, 2011.