Causes and Treatment of Cervical Erosion

This common condition is not as alarming as it sounds

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Cervical erosion (or ectropion) is a normal condition that occurs when the squamous epithelial cells grow out of the cervix and form an inflamed area that looks eroded and infected. This condition sounds scarier than it actually is. Despite its name, your cervix is not actually eroding.

Theories About the Causes of Cervical Erosion

In the past, it was thought that various types of physical trauma that caused infection might eventually lead to cervical erosion.

Such sources of trauma included sexual intercourse, the use of tampons, the insertion of a speculum, or the insertion of other objects into the vagina. Other assumed causes included severe vaginal infections or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as herpes or early syphilis. It was also thought that vaginal douches or other chemicals, such as contraceptive creams or foams, might cause cervical erosion.

Today, these theories are losing ground as it's become clear that cervical erosion is actually a normal phenomenon that many women are born with. Researchers have also found that it can be caused by hormonal changes, making it more prevalent among young women, pregnant women, or women who are on the pill.

As for the initial theory that infection is the cause of cervical erosion, increasing evidence shows that we have the causal relationship backward. Cervical erosion can actually make you more susceptible to various bacteria and yeast, which can then lead to infection.

For this reason, cervical erosion and cervical infections are often seen together.

Symptoms of Cervical Erosion

While there are generally no symptoms associated with cervical erosion, some women may experience abnormal bleeding that is not part of menstruation; bleeding after sexual intercourse; bleeding between periods; or a clear or yellowish vaginal discharge that has no odor unless a vaginal infection is also present.


For the majority of women, cervical erosion does not cause any problems, and it usually goes away by itself without needing any treatment unless there is an infection present. 

If an infection is present, your doctor can prescribe an antibiotic. Otherwise, giving your body time to heal naturally is the best treatment for cervical erosion.

Further Reading About Cervical Health 

  • What Is the Cervix? The cervix is the lower third portion of the uterus. It opens into the vagina, also known as the endocervical canal. Learn more about your cervix here.
  • The Cervix's Role in Female Reproduction
  • Cervical Cancer 101. Cervical cancer is a disease that affects the cervix. While cervical cancer used to be a common cause of cancer death among women in the United States, it is now much less common, though still possible.
  • How To Perform a Vaginal Self-Exam. While not recommended by medical professionals, some women give themselves vaginal and cervical self-exams. Supporters of these exams say they help women learn what is normal, allowing them to more quickly recognize changes to their body. But keep in mind that a self-exam should in no way replace your annual professional pelvic exam, during which the Pap smear and other tests can detect important microscopic changes.


    Wright, K, et al Cervical Ectropion and Intra-Uterine Contraceptive Device NIH Dec. 2014

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