Don’t panic! A cervical ectropion happens when cells from inside the cervix grow onto the outside of the cervix. These cells are called ‘glandular cells’ because they produce mucus. Glandular cells are red, so when they are outside, they can give the outer surface of the cervix a red appearance. An ectropion is common and does not lead to cancer.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Most of the time, a cervical ectropion does not cause any symptoms.
Glandular cells are very delicate and so can bleed easily or make more mucus, so symptoms may include:
-bleeding during or after sex
-bleeding during or after cervical screening (smear test)
-bleeding in-between your periods
-bleeding after some impact exercises such as running, or jumping
-vaginal discharge without an infection
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE IT?
If you have symptoms your doctor will insert a speculum inside your vagina and have a look at your cervix. A diagnosis is usually made on inspection of the outer surface of cervix
It can also be discovered during a standard examination or test such as routine cervical screening.
DO I NEED A TREATMENT?
If it is not causing any symptoms you do not need treatment
If it is causing symptoms and you take a contraceptive pill, we may suggest switching to a different type of contraception
If you have symptoms that are troublesome, you can be referred for treatment.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT?
Treatments are usually performed during a procedure called a ‘Colposcopy’ which takes a closer look at the cells of the cervix.
1) Cold coagulation or diathermy uses heat to burn away the glandular cells on the outside of the cervix. It is done under local anaesthetic. It takes about 5 to 10 minutes. It is not painful. You may feel a cramping or ache, like a period pain, while it is being done.
2) Cryotherapy freezes off the glandular cells on the outside of the cervix.
You do not usually need a local anaesthetic. It takes about 10 minutes.
After the treatment, you may feel a cramping or ache, like a period pain
a warmth through your body, which should stop once the treatment is done.
3) A Silver nitrate stick is sometimes used to remove the glandular cells. You will not usually need a local anaesthetic for this.
It usually takes about 4 weeks to heal after treatment for cervical ectropion. It is advised to not use tampons and not have penetrative sex for up to 4 weeks after treatment.
WILL IT COME BACK AFTER TREATMENT?
A cervical ectropion can come back after treatment. You may choose to try another method of treatment at least 6 weeks after the first one.
CAN IT AFFECT MY FERTILITY?
A cervical ectropion does not affect fertility or pregnancy.