Cervicitis: a review

Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2008 Feb;21(1):49-55. doi: 10.1097/QCO.0b013e3282f3d988.


Purpose of review: Sexually transmitted infections impact significantly on global health. Whereas Chlamydia, Neisseria gonorrhoea and syphilis have been extensively examined, there remains a paucity of knowledge of nonchlamydial and nongonococcal cervicitis, an arguably more prevalent but poorly characterized condition with uncertain clinical implications. With increasing application of molecular diagnostic methods for the detection of sexually transmitted infections and a growing body of literature on cervicitis, a review is timely.

Recent findings: The number of putative aetiological agents implicated in cervicitis is growing and includes Mycoplasma genitalium, herpes simplex virus, cytomegalovirus, bacterial vaginosis and Trichomonas. The potential role of cervicitis in HIV transmission has been highlighted. Increasing broad-spectrum antibiotic usage with associated emergence of antimicrobial resistance reinforces the need for targeted antibiotic therapies, including the management of cervicitis.

Summary: As our understanding of the aetiology and significance of cervicitis, particularly nonspecific cervicitis, improves, management will be refined. Advances in molecular diagnostic testing will facilitate this process, but urinary nucleic acid amplification testing should not replace clinical examination while cervicitis prevalence and significance is not yet established. A standardized approach to cervicitis research, particularly with consensus of case definition, may facilitate outcomes that can be more generally applied in clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Bacterial / epidemiology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Bacterial / microbiology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Viral / virology
  • Trichomonas Infections / epidemiology*
  • Trichomonas Infections / parasitology
  • Uterine Cervicitis / epidemiology*
  • Uterine Cervicitis / etiology*