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Cervical ectropion is common and harmless. It is not linked to cervical cancer or any other condition that causes cancer.
Cervical ectropion happens when cells from inside the cervical canal (glandular cells) are present on the outside surface of the cervix (the transformation zone). Glandular cells are red, so the area may look red.
If you have cervical ectropion, your nurse can usually see it during cervical screening (a smear test). In the past, you might have heard it called cervical erosion, but it is now called cervical ectropion or cervical eversion.
A lot of people are born with cervical ectropion, but it can be caused by hormonal changes. This means you are more likely to have it if you are:
Cervical ectropion does not cause any problems for most women. It usually goes away without treatment.
However, cells from inside the cervical canal bleed more easily and can produce more mucus than cells on the outside. This means cervical ectropion may cause:
If any of these symptoms cause problems for you, there are treatments that may help. If you take the contraceptive pill, sometimes switching to a different contraception can help manage a cervical ectropion. Your GP can talk this through with you and refer you for further treatment if needed.
If you choose to have treatment, it will usually be at a colposcopy clinic. Treatment seals the glandular cells to stop any bleeding. This is called cautery.
There are 3 treatment options:
After these treatments, you may have some bleeding or discharge. You may also feel some pain similar to being on your period. It usually takes about 4 weeks to heal after treatment. Don't use tampons or have penetrative sex during this time to avoid the risk of infection.
Problems after treatment aren't common, but speak with your GP if you have:
If you have problems we don't mention here or are worried about something else, call us on 0808 802 8000.
Remember, sometimes treatment does not get rid of the symptoms or only gets rid of them for a short time. If cervical ectropion is still bothering you after treatment, speak with your GP.