Cervical ectropion (formerly known as false or pseudo-erosion) is a condition where the cells lining the cervical canal are spread to the outer cervical surface. Inflammation and cancer are most likely to develop in the transitional zone, but they may not occur at all.
The condition is generally asymptomatic. It is often detected as cervical redness during a pelvic exam. However, cervical ectropion symptoms include:
- a significant increase in vaginal discharge
- spotting during or after sex
In most cases, cervical ectropion treatment isn’t required, but to rule out pathological processes, you should undergo additional examination such as colposcopy (examining the cervix under a microscope), vaginal flora and STI swab testing, and a Pap smear. You may also need to undergo a cervical biopsy or other tests. Further steps depend on the test results.
There are two types of cervical epithelium: columnar (lining the cervical canal) and squamous (located on the outside).
The boundary between the two types of cells is very susceptible to various factors:
- starting sexual activity before the formation of all mucous membrane functions is completed (18–23 years)
- frequently changing sexual partners (risk of STIs, including HPV, etc.)
- giving birth multiple times or undergoing frequent abortions, which traumatizes the cervix
- family history of cancer in close relatives
- nicotine and alcohol abuse
- neglecting intimate hygiene
- taking hormonal contraceptives without consulting a doctor
It is important to minimize the impact of these factors, which can cause inflammation or even cancer, and visit a gynecologist once a year to take the necessary tests.