Updated: Oct 12, 2020
Our cervix can be viewed as a gate to our womb. It is about the size of a quarter, smooth and pink with a slender slit/hole in the center. During pregnancy, the cervix serves as a protective barrier keeping baby in utero until the time of delivery (in which it ripens, dilates and effaces) and microorganisms from the vagina out. The cervix normally feels like the tip of your nose before you are ovulating, menstruating, or preparing to birth, in which it then softens feeling like your lips.
Some common language pertaining to your cervix can at times be overwhelming, that’s what I’m here for🙌🤗. The following are some cervical conditions you may encounter in seasons:
Cervical Polyp - A small mass that can originate from the endocervix or ectocervix (read yesterday’s post for definitions) caused by an overgrowth of benign tissue (stroma) covered with cervical cells (epithelium). These may fall off on their own or need to be surgically removed.
Cervical Cyst - Mucus filled sac that mostly occurs when new tissue grows over Nabothian glands. This blockage traps the glands that secretes mucus in tiny pockets causing the cyst to grow. These are non-threatening and may disappear on their own. Some common names of cysts are; Nabothian cyst, Nabothian follicles, epithelial inclusion cyst, and mucinous retention cysts
Cervicitis - Inflammation of the cervix that can be noninfectious (chemically i.e. douching or mechanically i.e. tampon irritation) or infectious (bacterial or viral).
Incompetent (Weakened) Cervix - During pregnancy your cervix begins to dilate/efface pre-term due to weakened cervical tissue. There’s a procedure called cervical cerclage that fastens and reinforces the cervix. If you are experiencing back pain, mild discomfort and/or spotting between 12-20 weeks, contact your midwife/OB asap!
Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN) - Precancerous (or abnormal growth as I prefer to call it) lesions on the surface of the cervix that can be low grade or high grade and classified as mild, moderate, or severe dysplasia. Low grade mild means the abnormal cells are 1/3 in thickness from the surface of the cervix. High grade moderate to severe means that the abnormal changes are about 2/3 or more of the epithelial layer.
The good news is that the cellular changes are all pre-cancerous and the abnormal growth may reverse to healthy squamous epithelium on their own without surgical treatments. Frequent screenings is a must in monitoring cervical changes. Diet and herbs (which we will discuss next time) along with exercise, affirmations and proper hygiene come in to play for building up and maintaining our cervical health. Ladies, we have one body, it is our responsibility to keep it protected and healthy!