Cervical Ectropion

Cervical Ectropion
What is a Cervical Ectropion?
The cervix (or “neck” of the womb) is the lowest part of the uterus and hangs
down into the upper part of the vagina. The cervix is covered by two different
types of skin. One type is similar to the skin on the rest of your body and is
called squamous epithelium - this is many cell layers thick and covers most of
the outside of the cervix. However, the cervical canal is lined by a very thin
layer of tissue called columnar epithelium. Where these two layers meet is
known as the squamo-columnar junction and it is from this part of the cervix
that cervical smears are taken.
A cervical ectropion is the condition in which there is a raw-looking area on
the cervix. It occurs when the thin inner lining of the cervix comes out onto the
part of the cervix that can usually be visualised during a speculum
It is related to a hormone called oestrogen and is
therefore more common in young women,
pregnant women and those taking oral combined
contraceptive pills. In these women, the cervix
has a tendency to open outwards. This reveals
more of the thin skin which tends to produce
more discharge, it tends to bleed when scraped
or rubbed during intercourse or at the time of
taking a cervical smear.
What are the symptoms you might have and when do you need
It may cause you no problems at all and often requires no treatment; however,
sometimes you may experience increased vaginal discharge or bleeding,
especially after any contact with the cervix such as during sexual intercourse
or when having a cervical smear.
What does the treatment involve?
The ectropion can easily be treated with cautery (diathermy). This treatment
is under local anaesthetic (when you are awake).
What are the benefits of treatment?
Most women find significant improvement in their symptoms.
What would happen if I do not have treatment?
Over a period of time the thin skin gradually changes into the thicker skin, how
long this takes is variable. You may therefore continue to have vaginal
discharge, post coital and irregular menstrual bleeding.
You can be
reassured that you will come to no harm, so long as your last smear is within
the recommended screening schedule was normal.
What are the risks and side effects of treatment?
Infection – 5 out of every 100 women may develop an infection. If the
vaginal discharge becomes smelly and you develop a raised
temperature, you should contact your GP for treatment with antibiotics
Small risk of bleeding, which is usually controlled during the procedure.
A further risk of secondary bleeding occurs 7-10 days after the
treatment. If very heavy contact the colposcopy clinic or your local
A&E service after hours.
The procedure does not affect your ability to conceive
There may be some slight abdominal cramping for a few days and
brownish or clear discharge for 2 weeks after treatment.
A minority of women find no improvement in their symptoms.
Advice before treatment?
If you have vaginal bleeding on your appointment date, please call us
for advice.
• You can eat and drink normally before coming to the clinic.
• If you have a coil (IUCD) the doctor may take it out at the time of
You should use an additional method of contraception (condoms) prior
to treatmentand continue with it until you are able to have the coil
How long will I be in hospital?
You will be able to go home immediately after the procedure, as the treatment
is usually done in specialised clinics.
What happens after the treatment?
You may suffer period pain or cramp for a few hours following the
procedure. You can take mild painkillers for this. (paracetamol.
Ibuprofen, naproxen).
Bleeding/discharge. Initially, it is like a light period before changing to
a pink, then brown discharge. It may last for up to a month.
Your next period may arrive earlier and be heavier than normal. Your
periods will then return to normal.
Most women feel well enough to continue their daily routine. You can
drive and resume work immediately, but some women feel a little shaky
after the treatment. If this is the case we would advise you to take
things easy for the rest of the day and arrange for a friend to
accompany you home after treatment
Your cervix is susceptible to infection whilst healing. For this reason we
advise you to avoid sex, tampons, vaginal douching, swimming and
long baths for 4 weeks.
If you travel abroad you may not be covered by insurance should any
complications related to the treatment arise. Please check with your
insurance company.
You can eat and drink normally.
When and where should I seek advice or help?
Heavy bleeding, with blood clots the size of your palm.
A smelly or heavy discharge.
Pain in the lower abdomen, not responding to simple painkillers.
If you have any of these symptoms you should contact your GP. Alternatively,
you can ring the contact numbers printed below. If you are unwell after
working hours contact your local A&E service.
Other sources from where to obtain information
Contact numbers
Wexham Park Colposcopy clinic
01753 634526
Heatherwood Colposcopy clinic
01344 877392
Out of clinic hours: Ward 20, Wexham Park
01753 634535
Title of leaflet: Cervical Ectropion
Reference No: L/062/1
Issue Date: January 2013 Review date: January 2016
Compiled by: Dr S Nayak : Mr A Wagley (Lead Colposcopist)
Legal Notice
Please remember that this leaflet is intended as general information only. We aim to make
the information as up to date and accurate as possible but please be warned that it is always
subject to change. Please therefore always check specific advice on any concerns you may
have with your doctor.
Heatherwood Hospital
London Road
Berkshire SL5 8AA
Tel 01344 623333
Fax 01344 874340
Wexham Park Hospital
Wexham Street
Berkshire SL2 4HL
Tel 01753 633000
Fax 01753 634848