Anatomy & Organs

Cervix – Structure, Function & Diseases

Cervix

The cervix is ​​located between the vagina and the uterine cavity. It has a central function in the birth and conception of a child.

What is the cervix?

The cervix is ​​the lower, narrowed end of the uterus where it meets the upper part of the vagina. The cervix is ​​cylindrical or conical in shape and protrudes above the top wall of the vagina.

More than half of its length is visible with certain medical devices, the rest is too far above the vagina and is not visible. The cervix has an opening to the vagina to allow semen and menstrual fluid to pass through.

The neck can stretch a lot during childbirth, as well as during the period. For some women, the cervix dilates too early during pregnancy , which can lead to premature birth . This is also called cervical insufficiency.

Anatomy & Structure

The front part of the cervix that extends into the vagina is called the ectocervix. On average, the ectocervix is ​​3 centimeters long and 2.5 centimeters wide. It has an elliptical shape and is divided into anterior and posterior lips.At the bottom of the ectocervix is ​​the cervical opening. The size and shape of this opening varies widely and changes with age, hormonal balance, and whether or not the woman gave birth vaginally. In women without a vaginal birth, the opening appears in a small rounded shape. During childbirth, the tissue is stretched significantly and the opening widens.

The uterine canal is located between the opening of the cervix and the uterine cavity. Again, the length and width varies with age and possible births. The largest width is up to 8 mm. The internal cervical os lies at the inner end of the uterine canal as a transition into the uterine cavity.

Functions & Tasks

During menstruation , the uterus opens a little to allow the endometrium to pour out. This stretching is believed to be responsible for the pain women feel during this stage.

During childbirth, the cervix opens up to 10 centimeters in diameter to allow the baby to exit the uterus. During pregnancy, the cervix prevents bacteria and other pests from reaching the baby inside the uterus.

During orgasm, the cervix contracts and the ectocervix dilates. It is believed that this response from the genital tract is intended to help the man’s semen enter the vagina and uterus more easily, increasing the chance of conception.

Even though this theory of the female orgasm and its connection with the opening of the cervix has become well established in medicine, there are a number of voices that speak against it. So it is said that there is not enough research material to prove this theory.

Diseases

Many symptoms associated with cervical discomfort include: excessive discharge , bleeding, pain, pressure, or other forms of discomfort.Such symptoms can be triggered by inflammation, infection, injury, allergies , precancerous stages or cervical cancer that has already developed . Inflammation and allergies can be triggered by chemicals, lubricants, condoms , and other materials that come in contact with the cervix. Many infections of the cervix, including chlamydiosis, gonorrhea , trichomoniasis , human papillomavirus , or herpes , are sexually transmitted.

Changes in the cells of the cervix can lead to infections and even cancer. Depending on the specific causes, the problems manifest themselves in different ways. Itching , stinging or an unpleasant smell usually occurs with infections, inflammations or allergies . Cervical cancer that has already developed also affects bladder function, with incontinence , blood and stool in the vagina, leg pain , fatigue, loss of appetite and weight loss .

If abnormal changes within the cervix are suspected (usually detected by a routine smear test), a number of tests can be done to help make a diagnosis. The exact treatment then depends on the findings.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.