What Is A Cervical Erosion?
The cervix is the lowest part of the uterus (womb) and is the part that can be felt at the top of the vagina.
A cervical erosion is a raw-looking granular appearance on the cervix. It occurs when the inner lining of the cervical canal (columnar epithelium) comes out onto the part of the cervix that can be visualised with a speculum. It appears as a red, velvet-like area.
Cervical erosion is related to the hormone called oestrogen and is common in young girls, during pregnancy and in women on the contraceptive pill. It should not be regarded as a sign of disease because it is frequently found in perfectly healthy women.
Gynaecolgists now tend to use the term cervical ectopy and at one time it was called a cervical ectropion. The cervix is not eroded and there is no ulceration – it is simply that the columnar epithelium is much thinner than the squamous epithelium and so the underlying blood vessels show through more clearly, making the area look red and raw.
Cervical erosion is a completely benign condition and it does not lead to cancer.
During childbirth or miscarriage, the surface covering of the cervix can be damaged and become inflamed (cervicitis). Evidence of this inflammation can still be found even many years later. Sometimes small mucus filled cysts form on the cervix (Nabothian follicles). Chronic cervicitis may be associated with discharge or bleeding after intercourse. Cervical ectopy and cervicitis are not pre-malignant or malignant conditions.
What Symptoms May Occur With A Cervical Erosion?
Most young women, particularly if they are taking the combined oral contraceptive pill, have a cervical erosion.
Most women with a cervical erosion have no symptoms. The cervical erosion is observed during routine pelvic examination. If there are no symptoms there is no reason to offer treatment for a cervical erosion.
It follows that many women with symptoms including vaginal discharge without evidence of infection will have a cervical erosion.
Another symptom that can sometimes be attributable to a cervical erosion is bleeding after intercourse – postcoital bleeding. In these circumstances, your doctor may offer to treat the cervix by destroying the surface. No guarantee can be given that this treatment will reduce or alleviate symptoms.
Bleeding in early pregnancy can be related to cervical erosion.