You may never, in your entire life, see your own cervix. Yes, you can see it on a monitor perhaps during an examination, but usually it remains hidden to you. It isn’t hard to see your own cervix if you are interested (and you should take a look – you can actually check out your own cervix for changes if you want to).

But what is a doctor or gynaecologist looking for when they examine you? It can really pay to be informed so when you are getting your next pap test, you can ask questions – it’s interesting stuff!

     What could possibly go wrong?
Cellular abnormalities of the cervix include:

Other abnormalities might include anatomical abnormalities, which are not covered in this article.

     Looking at the cervix – circumstances whereby your cervix might be hard to see:

  • If you have a retroverted uterus which causes your uterus to be displaced
  • In post-menopause
  • In women who are nulliparous, which means she has never had a baby, though this official and somewhat antiquated word isn’t clear if this just means never been pregnant, never carried a baby to term, never given birth to a live baby, or never given birth vaginally – take your pick)
  • After vaginal surgery
  • If your bladder is full
  • During constipation
  • Uterine enlargement
  • With a pelvic mass or growth
  • Amongst scarring
  • Obesity or even just a high BMI

     What to look for

  • Blue, black or red lesions, combined with discharge, painful periods, pelvic pain or deep pain on penetration (could indicate endometriosis or adenomyosis)
  • ‘Strawberry cervix’ associated with cervicitis – could be caused by a sexually transmitted infection, may be asymptomatic or come with discharge or bleeding after sex
  • Bleeding after sex, from the genitals or the cervix – can be caused by some cancers, cervical ectropion and other issues and must be checked
  • Abnormal lesions on vagina or cervix, vaginal adenosis, cockscomb cervix or a cervical collar hood may appear in daughters of women given DES in the 70s

 

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