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Cervical Health

This webpage is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

About Your Cervix

The cervix is an inch-long cone-shaped passageway that connects the uterus to the vagina. The word "cervical" means 'having to do with the cervix.'

Your cervix can't be penetrated by a tampon, a finger or a penis. The cervix has no nerve endings, so any discomfort will feel more like pressure and cramping.

Finding Your Cervix

Insert your index finger into your vagina and you'll probably be able to feel your cervix at the top.

The cervix feels like the tip of your nose, with a dimple in the center. This dimple is the opening of the cervix.

Appearance

A healthy cervix is a pale pink. Women who take birth control pills might have a "pill cervix": one that's redder in appearance, which returns to the pink colour once the woman stops taking the Pill.

The opening of the cervix is "closed off" with cervical mucous that's affected by hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle.

Purpose

Childbirth

The cervix lets a baby travel from the uterus to the vagina during childbirth. During dilation the cervical opening widens to about 10 centimetres.

Cervical Mucous

Glands in the cervical canal produce a mucous that bathes and lubricates the vaginal walls. It creates a barrier that lets sperm into uterus, but usually stops bacteria from entering.

As you get closer to ovulating your cervix will open. The mucous increases but becomes thinner and clearer (almost like raw egg white) to help nourish and transport sperm. This mucous stretches when you hold it between two fingers.

After ovulation, for about the two weeks before menstruation, your cervical mucous will dry up and you'll have less vaginal discharge.

Keeping Your Cervix Healthy

You can keep your cervix healthy by:

  • Delaying the first time you have sexual intercourse.
  • Limiting your number of sexual partners.
  • Choosing not to smoke.
  • Using latex condoms.
  • Having regular Pap tests (every 1-2 years).

When to Call Your Doctor

Call and make an appointment with your family doctor or a health care professional if you notice any changes in your vaginal discharge (wetness).

If germs or bacteria enter your uterus you can develop Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) or a cervical sexually transmitted infection such as chlamydia and gonorrhea.

A change in the amount, colour, or odour from whatever is 'normal' for you might mean that you have bacterial vaginosis, a yeast infection or another STI.

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