Vaginal Health

What Exactly Does the Cervix Do?

January 14, 2018

Women typically talk about the cervix concerning childbirth, or compared to getting a Pap smear. But many are unaware of what the cervix is and the way it functions. Discover more about the way the cervix has an important function in the female reproduction system.

Everything You Will Need to Know About Your Cervix

The cervix is the lower portion of the uterus.

It is about two inches long, and it is tubular in shape.

It hastens during childbirth to permit for the passing of the infant. Additionally, it allows for the passage of menstrual fluid from the uterus, and sperm should undergo the cervix so as to reach the uterus.

The cervix is vulnerable to many health conditions, such as chronic inflammation, polyps, dysplasia, and cancer. Regrettably, cervical conditions infrequently pose symptoms in the early stages; thus, a regular Pap smear from a gynecologist is essential. A Pap smear can spot abnormal peripheral changes before they become cancerous.

Cervical cancer screening guidelines that were updated by the Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) at February 2016 indicate:

  • Women should have their first Pap smear at age 21. (The previous guidelines advocated that girls have their first Pap three years after becoming sexually active or at age 21–whichever came first.)
  • Women aged 21–29 years ought to have a Pap test alone every 3 decades. HPV testing is not recommended.
  • Girls aged 30–65 years should have a Pap test and an HPV test (co-testing) every 5 years (favored ). It also is okay to have a Pap test alone each 3 decades.
  • Girls age 65 or older should stop having cervical cancer screenings if they do not have a history of severe or moderate abnormal cervical cells or cervical cancer, and if they’ve had either three negative Pap test leads to a row or 2 negative co-test results in a row within the last ten years, with the most recent test conducted within the past 5 years.
  • Girls who have had a hysterectomy should ask their physician about whether or not they still need screening. The answer is dependent upon several factors, such as whether the cervix was removed, the hysterectomy has been needed, and whether there is a history of mild or severe cervical cell changes or cervical cancer. Even if the cervix is removed at the time of their hysterectomy, cervical cells may still be present in the top of the vagina. If you’ve got a history of cervical cancer or cervical cell changes, you need to continue to have screenings for 20 years after the time of your operation. 

Anatomy of the Cervix

Several key elements contribute to peripheral function. These areas of the cervix are usually discussed during pregnancy, Pap smears, and colposcopy examinations. It is important to get familiar with them so you are able to understand possible changes occurring in your cervix. This understanding will also help you understand evaluations, like the Pap smear or colposcopy.

  • Endocervical Canal: This is the potential area in the middle of the tube of tissue that’s the cervix. During a colposcopy, the doctor may take a sample of cells in the endocervical canal. This is known as an endocervical curettage (ECC).
  • Ectocervix: This is the lower portion of the cervix which protrudes into the anus.
  • Internal Os: This Portion of the cervix is nearest to the uterus. During childbirth and pregnancy, you may hear the doctor talk about the”os.”
  • External Os: Here is the launching of the ectocervix.
  • Transformation Zone: That can also be called the”TZ” for short. This is the region of the cervix where cervical dysplasia commonly occurs. The transformation zone can be discussed during a colposcopy examination.

Again, using regular Pap smears is vital to detect any early changes in cervical cells which may lead to cervical cancernevertheless, you should be aware that the majority of abnormal Pap smears are the result of inflammation or disease.