Diagnosis

To diagnose cervicitis, your doctor will likely perform a physical exam that includes:

  • A pelvic exam. During this exam, your doctor checks your pelvic organs for areas of swelling and tenderness. He or she also may place a speculum in your vagina to view the upper part of the vagina and the cervix.
  • A specimen collection. In a process similar to a Pap test, your doctor uses a small cotton swab or a brush to gently remove a sample of cervical and vaginal fluid. Your doctor sends the sample to a lab to test for infections. Lab tests also may be performed on a urine sample.

Treatment

You may not need treatment for cervicitis caused by something other than a sexually transmitted infection (STI). If you have cervicitis caused by an STI, both you and your partner are likely to need treatment.

Prescription medications often can clear up the inflammation of cervicitis. Your treatment may include:

  • An antibiotic medication, for a bacterial infection such as gonorrhea or chlamydia.
  • An antiviral medication, for a viral infection such as genital herpes. However, antiviral medication doesn't cure herpes, which is a chronic condition and may be passed on to your partner at any time.

Your doctor may recommend repeat testing for cervicitis caused by gonorrhea or chlamydia.

To avoid passing a bacterial infection along to your partner, abstain from sexual intercourse until you're finished with the treatment recommended by your doctor.

Preparing for your appointment

Cervicitis may be discovered incidentally during a routine pelvic exam and Pap test and may not require treatment. If, however, you experience unusual vaginal symptoms that lead you to schedule an appointment, you'll most likely see a gynecologist, family doctor or other health care provider.

Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well-prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

So that your doctor can observe and evaluate any vaginal discharge you have, avoid using tampons and don't douche before your appointment.

Also make a list of all medications or supplements you're taking or any allergies you have. Write down questions to ask your doctor. Some basic questions include:

  • How did I develop this condition?
  • Do I need to take medicine?
  • Are there any over-the-counter products that will treat my condition?
  • Does my partner also need to be tested or treated?
  • What should I do if my symptoms return after treatment?
  • What can I do to prevent cervicitis in the future?

Don't hesitate to ask additional questions during your appointment if you think of something else.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor will likely perform a physical exam that may include a pelvic exam and Pap test. He or she may collect a fluid specimen from your vagina or cervix to send for testing.

Your doctor may also ask you a number of questions about your condition, such as:

  • What vaginal symptoms are you experiencing?
  • Are you experiencing any urinary problems, such as pain during urination?
  • How long have you had your symptoms?
  • Are you sexually active?
  • Have you or your partner ever had a sexually transmitted infection?
  • Do you experience pain or bleeding during intercourse?
  • Do you douche or use any feminine hygiene products?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • Have you tried any over-the-counter products to treat your symptoms?
Oct. 24, 2014
References
  1. Klausner JD, et al., eds. Current Diagnosis & Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2007. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=369&Sectionid=39914786. Accessed September 12, 2014.
  2. Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2015: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 12, 2014.
  3. 2010 sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines. Atlanta, Ga.: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2010/default.htm. Accessed Sept. 12, 2014.
  4. Marrazzo J. Acute cervicitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 12, 2014.