When it comes to a woman’s fertility/infertility, cervical health can have a direct impact on the outcome. This month, our Idaho Fertility Center blog will be about all things cervical and how it can affect your fertility.
The cervix is the part of your reproductive system that connects your vagina to your uterus. This channel is a vital part of your body. When you are menstruating, the cervix produces and secretes mucous that helps with conception. During childbirth, your cervix opens to allow your baby to come through. If the cervix is experiencing problems you can have trouble with conception as well as issues with your overall health.
Concerning Cervical Conditions
Cancer: Cervical cancer arises when the cervical cells become malignant and quickly multiply. Not only will this endanger a your health, but will also interfere with fertility.
Cervicitis: This bacterial infection in the cervix can leave you experiencing mild bleeding, a milky-looking discharge and a possible urinary tract infection.
Dysplasia: Your cervix may contain abnormal cell growth that could potentially lead to cervical cancer later.
Eversion: Your cervix has two parts; the internal endocervical canal (endocervix) and the outer area called the ectocervix. With eversion, the endocervix cells travel to the ectocervix which can lead to infection and in some cases, cervical erosion.
Polyps: These are little growths that are non-cancerous that can show up on the lining of your cervix. Still, when they grow too big, they get in the way of traveling sperm attempting to get through the uterus.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs): Since the cervix is basically a channel, sexual contact can spread disease that interferes with conception, including the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and is directly linked to cervical cancers.
Red Flags To Watch Out For
There are warning signs and symptoms that point to serious cervical malady conditions that should be looked at by a doctor. Unusual vaginal bleeding that arises before or after your menstrual period, or an unusually heavy period. Another concerning issue is unusual vaginal discomfort like dryness, burning and pain, and sometimes during intercourse. If you have unusual or unexpected vaginal discharge, you should have it checked. If you suddenly experience back or stomach pains, this can be a sign that other organs are being impacted by cervical issues.
The Key to Prevention
The good news is, you can be proactive in your cervical health as you can with other health issues. One of the most important is to get those routine yearly checkups, particularly if you are in your childbearing years. You’ll want to get your pap smear and HPV tests so the tissues can be analyzed for abnormalities. As with many health concerns, early detection and treatment can often make all the difference for a favorable outcome. Don’t forget to get your HPV vaccination as this can prevent certain strains of HPV that show up before cervical cancer is detected. And when it comes to STDs, it’s important to use condoms and contraceptives that can lower your chances of infection.
If you do find yourself dealing with a cervical condition, there are treatments that can help. One of the most common is antibiotics/antifungal drugs. These can effectively treat infections or STDs. Bacteria and trichomonads can be treated with antibiotics while antifungal pills treat vaginal thrush. In some cases, surgery may be recommended. Diseased tissue can be treated with heat (cauterization) or liquid nitrogen (cryosurgery) for deep infection, eversion and even polyps. When treating cervical cancer other therapeutic protocols often include chemotherapy or radiation.
When it comes to your health, our board-certified endocrinologists and dedicated team have the expertise to help you along your fertility journey. For more information, please contact our office at 208-529-2019. As this near year gets underway, we are here to help you with all of your fertility goals!