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.
Nov. 22, 2011

You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.