In simple words, we can say that the glandular cells which are found inside the cervical canal spread towards the outside of the cervix. It is also known as cervical erosion, although it does not erode the cervix in reality. The cervix basically acts as the neck of your uterus. The cervical canal joins your vagina to your uterus.
It is most common in women who are pregnant or women who take contraceptives in the form of oestrogen. It is not harmful or cancerous and does not affect fertility. Although it can cause problems in some women. In this article, you will learn more about this condition, its symptoms and causes, how it is diagnosed and then treated.
Symptoms of cervical ectropion
Most of the women with cervical ectropion do not experience any symptoms at all. Usually, you may not be aware of having this condition unless you visit your doctor or get a pelvic examination done. But there are some symptoms of cervical ectropion that women are probable to experience. These symptoms are:
● Light-colored vaginal discharge
● Bleeding between the menstrual cycle
● Bleeding during or after sex
● Pain during or after cervical screening
● Bleeding during or after cervical screening or pelvic exam
● Bleeding during pregnancy
The glandular cells of the cervical canal tend to be more sensitive than the epithelial cells therefore might produce more mucus and bleed easily. The discharge from the vagina can become disturbing in women. Similarly, the pain during or after sexual intercourse because of cervical ectropion can interfere with your sex life. The severity of symptoms of cervical ectropion may vary. In the last months of pregnancy, if you experience bleeding, you have a high chance of having cervical ectropion.
Causes of cervical ectropion
Determining the specific cause of cervical ectropion may sometimes become impossible. Some women are born with cervical ectropion and develop it within years due to the hormonal changes occurring in the body. Due to its high possibility of occurrence by hormonal changes, it is highly possible for you to develop this condition during your reproductive years. The development of cervical ectropion in women after menopause is quite rare. The most probable causes of cervical ectropion are:
● Production of excess estrogen by the body
● Puberty or pregnancy
● Excess intake of synthesized estrogen artificially, for example, estrogen in form of pills, patches
● Using birth control pills, gels, or patches
● Sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, etc.
Potential risks of cervical ectropion
Cervical ectropion is an unharmful condition and not a disease. Most of the women do not even realize that they have this condition unless it is diagnosed through a routine examination. It usually does not create other serious health issues such as the development of cancer. Also, it will not harm you or your baby during pregnancy.
But you always have an option to visit your doctor if anything goes wrong. If you notice the worsening of symptoms, do not hesitate to visit a doctor.
How can you diagnose cervical ectropion?
As said earlier, most of the time, women won’t know that they have this condition as it has minimal symptoms. Cervical ectropion is not something serious. Therefore, it is possible that these symptoms may be due to some other conditions that need to be treated right away to get rid of cervical ectropion. The symptoms of cervical ectropion are basically common for other diseases as well. Such diseases include:
● Cervical polyps
● Uterine fibroids
● Cervical cancer or uterine cancer
● Problems with Intrauterine device
● Problems with pregnancy
So, in order to get an accurate diagnosis, you must get yourself thoroughly examined by your doctor or the healthcare provider. Tell your doctor about all the symptoms that you might be facing such as pain during or after sex, or abnormal discharge, etc. They might want to perform tests on you.
The most frequently used techniques used by healthcare specialists for the diagnosis of cervical ectropion are the pelvic examination and a pap test. During the pelvic examination, the cervical ectropion is visible as the cervix appears to be rough and redness is seen, which is not normal. It is possible that it might bleed during this examination.
A Pap test is usually done to differentiate between cervical cancer and cervical ectropion. This test is mostly done by doctors because the cervical ectropion looks a lot like the early stages of cervical cancer, even though it has no link. A Pap test is also used to look out for any sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). If the results of the pap test are fine, your doctor will probably send you back and you won’t require any more tests. If not, the doctor will perform another procedure on you that is known as colposcopy.
Colposcopy is a procedure in which the doctor basically examines your cervix more closely using powerful lighting and special magnifying glass. The test can be performed in the doctor’s office. It is possible that your doctor collects some tissue samples to send for cancerous cells to the laboratory during this procedure.
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