Cervical Ectropion

Information for patients

A cervical ectropion occurs when the delicate skin (columnar epithelium) that lines the inside of the cervix comes out onto the outer surface of the cervix. It appears red and velvet-like. This type of skin is very thin and so you can see the underlying small blood vessels, and therefore it appears very red in colour. Because the skin is more delicate, sometimes when this type of skin is touched or rubbed, it can cause some bleeding.

What causes a cervical ectropion?

A cervical ectropion is a natural response to the female hormone oestrogen and can occur without any cause. It is most common in some women taking the combined oral contraceptive pill, during pregnancy, or after having children.

Symptoms of a cervical ectropion

Very often a cervical ectropion will cause no symptoms at all. In this case there is no need for treatment. An ectropion is not an abnormality and it is nothing to worry about. It does not affect fertility or cause cancer.

Sometimes an ectropion can cause one or all of the following symptoms:

  • Bleeding or discharge after sexual intercourse
  • Bleeding/discharge/spotting in between periods
  • Constant discharge without the presence of any infection

Treatment of an ectropion

An ectropion only needs to be treated if there are symptoms which are bothering you.

Cryocautery

A metal probe is placed onto the ectropion. The metal probe is then frozen and held onto the ectropion. This freezes the columnar epithelium (delicate cells) so that they come away and then the new cells which grow we expect to be stronger and less likely to bleed (please see our leaflet on Cryocautery for more information).

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