Written by Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
The medical term for cervical erosion is 'cervical ectopy'. It is a condition in which cells that normally line the inside of the cervical canal extend on to the surface of the cervix.
Normally, the inside of the cervical canal is lined with columar epithelium and the outside with squamous epithelium. These connect at the squamo-columnar junction. In cervical erosion, the columnar epithelium may extend further down ad protrude on the surface of the cervical os and onto the vaginal portion of cervix. It may also undergo squamous metaplasia and transform to stratified squamous epithelium.
It can cause mild bleeding during pregnancy, usually during sexual intercourse when the penis touches the cervix.
The erosion disappears spontaneously 3 - 6 months after childbirth.
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Most women with cervical erosion do not have any symptoms. But women with a large area of erosion can suffer from:
Pregnant women who complain of mild bleeding in early pregnancy or blood stained vaginal discharge (brown, black or red) should always be asked if they had had sex in the 12 hours prior to the episode of bleeding.
Cervical erosion has to be differentiated from other cervical ulcers caused by carcinoma, syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases. A cervical biopsy should ideally be carried out.
If the cervical erosion has no symptoms but has been discovered on routine examination, treatment is not necessary. In many cases, the erosion tend to dissappear spontaneously.
If symptoms are present however, active treatment becomes necessary. The aim of the treatment of cervical erosion is to destroy the columnar cells so that normal squamous cells can grow in their place:
Infections: Infections should also be controlled by antibiotics.
Post-operative advice:The area of cervical erosion takes 6-8 weeks to heal. So the patient is asked to avoid sex and not to use tampons or douches during this period to avoid any injury.
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