What is cervicitis?

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Cervicitis in teens: Overview

Cervicitis (say "ser-vuh-SY-tus") is an inflammation of the cervix. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. Cervicitis is most often caused by an infection. Some people develop cervicitis after getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. Lab tests can help your doctor learn what caused your cervicitis.

Untreated cervicitis can cause serious health problems. You may need a follow-up test to make sure that any infection is gone.


Cervicitis is an inflammation of the cervix, most often caused by infection. Symptoms of cervicitis include an unusual vaginal discharge or bleeding, redness or swelling of the cervix, and vaginal pain.

Teens: How can you care for yourself when you have cervicitis?

  • Take your antibiotics as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • If your doctor prescribed antifungal medicine, use it as directed.
  • Do not have sex with anyone while you are being treated. If your treatment is a single dose of antibiotics, wait at least 7 days after taking the dose before having any sexual contact. Even if you use a condom, you and your partner or partners may pass the infection back and forth.
  • Make sure to tell any partners that you have cervicitis, because it may be related to an STI. Sex partners should get tested and then treated if they are infected with an STI, even if they do not have symptoms.
  • Do not douche. Douching changes the normal balance of substances in your vagina.
  • Do not use tampons while you are being treated for cervicitis.

To prevent STIs

  • You should never feel pressured to have sex. It's okay to say "no" anytime you want to stop.
  • It's important to feel safe with your sex partner and with the activities you are doing together. If you don't feel safe, talk with an adult you trust.
  • Use condoms every time you have sex. Use them from the beginning to the end of sexual contact.
  • Talk to any partners before you have sex. Find out if they have or are at risk for any sexually transmitted infection (STI). Keep in mind that a person may be able to spread an STI even if they don't have symptoms.
  • Do not have sex with anyone who has symptoms of an STI, such as sores on the genitals or mouth.
  • Having one sex partner (who does not have STIs and does not have sex with anyone else) can reduce your risk of getting STIs.

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