Cervical bleeding is bleeding which originates from the cervix. There are a number of potential causes for bleeding from the cervix, and women are usually encouraged to go to a gynecologist for evaluation if they experience bleeding. The flow of blood can be light or heavy, depending on the issue, and may cause spotting or streaking between periods, or an unusually heavy menstrual flow. Any bleeding which differs from the norm can be a cause for concern.
A gynecologist can determine the source of abnormal bleeding with a physical examination. If the blood is coming from the cervix, the gynecologist will determine which area of the cervix appears to be bleeding, and check for any signs of obvious abnormalities or issues. A small tissue sample may also be taken for analysis. The examination should also include a discussion with the patient about when the onset of the bleeding occurred, any pre-existing conditions the patient has, and additional symptoms which may be important to know about.
Many infections can cause this type of bleeding. Yeast infections, cervical irritation, bacterial infections, and sexually transmitted infections such as the human papilloma virus have all been linked with cervical bleeding. In these cases, the cervix may have an “eroded” appearance, meaning that it looks rough and inflamed, and the woman may experience unpleasant discharge in addition to the bleeding, such as thick mucus or a strong-smelling discharge. Itching and burning sensations can also occur.
Conditions such as uterine fibroids and pelvic inflammatory disease can also lead to cervical bleeding, as can cervical cancer. In fact, bleeding can be an early warning sign of cervical cancer. A biopsy sample can determine whether or not cancerous cells are present on the cervix, and if they are, what stage the cancer has reached.
Abnormal bleeding can also be caused by some forms of hormonal birth control and intrauterine devices. If a woman has recently started using birth control or has changed methods, this can explain abnormal bleeding. Women can also experience bleeding after sexual activity in some cases; women who regularly experience bleeding after sex should discuss the situation with a gynecologist.
Treatment for cervical bleeding generally involves determining the cause and addressing it. A woman may need to wear pads until the source of the bleeding can be addressed. Treatments can include medications to address infections, a change of birth control method, or surgery to remove abnormal cells from the cervix.