Cervical ectropion, or cervical ectopy, is a condition in which the soft or glandular cells that line the cheek of the cervical canal spread to the cervix’s outer surface. The cervix’s outer surface is filled with hard epithelial cells. The point where these two kinds of cells intersect is known as the transformation zone.
The condition, Cervical ectropion, is common among women of fairly common among women of reproductive age. It is neither cancerous nor does it come in the way of their fertility. Despite this, it can be problematic for women. It normally occurs during the last phase of pregnancy, the reason being that the glandular cells are finer than the epithelial cells, hence causing more mucus production and bleeding that much easier.
To know more about it, let’s take a look at its symptoms, treatment and causes:
If you have been diagnosed with cervical ectropion, you won’t have any visible symptoms of it. You won’t be aware of it until your gynecologist examines your pelvis. Your symptoms of cervical ectropion include:
- Lightdischarge of mucus
- Spotting between periods
- Bleeding accompanied by pain both during intercourse and after
- Bleeding and pain seen during a pelvic exam or after
Apart from these, there could be some women who go through intense symptoms where the discharge is an embarrassment and the pain is a barrier to sexual pleasure. If you experience the above-mentioned symptoms, see your doctor immediately. Cervical ectropion is also the result of some other conditions that are treatable early, such as:
- Fibroids or polyps
- Problems with your Intra Uterine Device (IUD)
Determining the cause of cervical ectropion isn’t always easy or possible. In some cases, women are born with it. It is commonly seen in childbearing women, such as women in their teens, those who are on reproductive pills or pregnant women.
Other causes of cervical ectropion are:
- Hormonal changes: Hormonal fluctuations in pregnant women could lead to Cervical ectropion, often seen as the most common in women in their reproductive years. Once women reach menopause, they rarely, if ever, experience cervical ectropion.
- Contraceptive pill: When women take birth control pills, their hormone levels are affected, thereby leading to cervical ectropion.
- Pregnancy: Pregnancy is a big factor leading to cervical ectropion due to hormonal fluctuations. These symptoms are caused due to the delicate glandular cells that can be seen on the cervix’s exterior. Not only do they produce mucus easily, but bleed equally easily too, leading to spotting and pain during or after sex.
- Cervical cancer: Women diagnosed with cervical ectropion may have a red and inflamed cervix, which could largely resemble cervical cancer in its early days. However, these two conditions are in no way related.
- Chlamydia: Just because a woman is diagnosed with cervical ectropion doesn’t mean she has chlamydia. Women should undergo regular tests for sexually transmitted diseases and infections, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, which do not come with obvious symptoms.
On examination, your doctor will be able to see mucus producing cells on the cervix’s exterior. However, to rule out the similar look between cervical cancer and ectropion, a Pap smear and swabs are performed to rule out infection.
Do your symptoms of cervical ectropion bother you? If they don’t, you needn’t treat this condition. If you experience very mild problems relating to cervical ectropion, don’t worry because it will go away on its own. However, if you have nagging and troublesome symptoms, like a lot of mucus discharge or heavy bleeding during or after sex, speak to your doctor without delay for treatment.
Types of treatment
Cervical ectropion is usually treated by cauterizing the area to prevent further discharge and bleeding using heat or diathermy, silver nitrate or cold or cryosurgery. Following the procedure, your cervix will need some healing time. Avoid sexual activity and using tampons for the next month or so, so that you’re free from infection. Despite these preventives, do inform your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Ugly and smelly discharge
- Unusually heavy bleeding
- Unusually long bleeding period
These could be signs of infection or something serious which would entail immediate treatment.