If you've been diagnosed with eroded cervix then you may feel a little worried, it certainly sounds like a very unpleasant condition. But in this case the name sounds far more scary than the condition itself usually is. You needn't worry that your cervix is gradually wearing away, that isn't the case at all. What happens in eroded cervix is that cells from the cervical canal start to grow at the neck of the cervix giving it a rough, inflamed appearance and making it prone to bleeding. Growing of cells in the wrong place in itself sets alarm bells ringing, but don't worry, cervical erosion is not cancerous.
What are the symptoms of cervical erosion?
Often there are no symptoms for cervical erosion, but where there are symptoms these are bleeding after sex or in-between periods and/or vaginal discharge. As cervical erosion is so common during pregnancy it is a common cause of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, especially later in pregnancy: the bleeding is usually bright red and low volume.
What causes cervical erosion?
Cervical erosion can be caused by: hormonal changes- such as caused by pregnancy or the contraceptive pill; items inserted into the vagina (such as tampons, barrier contraceptives or a speculum); several sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) such as herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea and vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis.
The three groups of women most likely to suffer from eroded cervix are:
- Pregnant women
- Women on the contraceptive pill
- Young women
Will eroded cervix endanger my baby?
If you're pregnant and diagnosed with eroded cervix then it's most likely that hormonal changes during pregnancy are the cause of the cervical inflammation the eroded cervix won't interfere with your pregnancy in the slightest. However, if you're experiencing vaginal bleeding after intercourse then your doctor may well recommend that you abstain from intercourse until you're safely into the second trimester.
In any case you will be screened for the infections that can also lead to eroded cervix, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, bacterial vaginosis and syphilis, which may have an impact on your pregnancy and labour.
What does eroded cervix mean for my general health?
Once it's established that the cervical erosion has not been caused by any of the above-mentioned infections and STIs you can stop worrying, the inflammation may cause bleeding and spotting but it isn't dangerous in itself. Cervical erosion is often diagnosed during a smear test as the condition can make it more difficult to get a clear sample. You may be called back for a repeat smear, but doctors won't be concerned by a simple case of cervical erosion unless it's causing an uncomfortable amount of bleeding or discharge. Cervical erosion isn't cancerous and doesn't increase your likelihood of developing cervical cancer.
While a diagnosis of cervical erosion sn't usually anything to wory about at all, you should always get any unusual vaginal bleeding checked out by your doctor.
How is eroded cervix treated?
Unless you are bothered with vaginal bleeding or discharge, eroded cervix is usually left completely untreated. If bleeding and discharge are a problem your doctor may recommend treatment to remove the inflammed tissue via cauterization (heat), laser therapy or freezing.