Cervicitis is a common disease that is typically caused by an infection that occurs during sexual activity (1). Over 50% of women are estimated to be afflicted with cervicitis at a point during their adult lives. The causes of cervicitis are usually due to wide variety of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can cause it: Chlamydia (C. trachomatis), Gonorrhea (N. gonorrhoeae), the herpes virus (genital herpes), the human papilloma virus (genital warts) and Trichomoniasis (Trichomonas vaginalis). However, cervicitis can also be caused by allergies from exposure to synthetic chemicals in condom latex or tampons. Our home remedies for Cervicitis differ depending on what has caused your condition and offer some treatment for cervicitis at home.
Causes of Cervicitis
Women who exhibit high-risk sexual behavior (e.g. having multiple sexual partners and having sexual intercourse at a young age) are at a greater risk of developing cervicitis (2).
Research indicates that it will recur in between 8-25% of women who develop it.
Furthermore, cervicitis can occur via non-sexual transmission and can be caused by an allergic reaction to the insertion of a device (cervical cap, pessary, tampon or diaphragm) into the pelvic area. Many people are allergic to the spermicides used in contraceptives, or the latex used in condoms, or indeed, to a non-specified chemical irritant found in these products.
Cervicitis may also be caused by bacterial infections (e.g. staphylococcus and streptococcus), or due to excessive proliferation of the normal bacteria that inhabits the vagina (bacterial vaginosis).
Medical researchers have also cited other factors as causes of cervicitis and why it may persist after antimicrobial therapy (3). These include:
- frequent douching (or exposure to other chemical irritants),
- persistent abnormality of vaginal flora
- spontaneous inflammation in the zone of ectopy
- vaginal birth
Hormonal imbalances (low estrogen and high progesterone), cancer, and the process of cancer treatment (e.g. radiation therapy) can also contribute to the development of cervicitis.
The disease involves the swelling or inflammation of the tissue at the end of the uterus (i.e. the cervix). It is often asymptomatic, but symptoms can include:
- pain during sexual intercourse
- irritation of the vulva or vagina
- pelvic or abdominal pain
- abnormal vaginal discharge (which can be yellow, white, or gray)
- unpleasant vaginal odor
- burning sensation when urinating
- atypical bleeding from the vagina
Cervicitis can be acute or chronic in nature:
Acute cervicitis (which is typically caused by an infection) can often be successfully treated with antibiotics, antifungal medications and antiviral medications. Likewise, there are also home remedies for cervicitis that focus on treating the underlying STI.
Chronic cervicitis (which is often caused by noninfectious causes) can be treated directly with home remedies or may necessitate surgery or laser therapy (4).
The following list of herbs and alternative treatments should not be used as a replacement for medical treatment and diagnosis. They are merely meant to help your body and immune system recover from the infection.
Regardless of the severity of your symptoms, obtaining a professional diagnosis is critical. Cervicitis can be diagnosed by an analysis of endocervical specimens and urine for any STIs or bacterial infections (5). If the cause of cervicitis is an STI, then the best home remedies for cervicitis are to treat the underlying STI. Therefore identifying the STI is critical.
Medical diagnosis should also be sort because the infection can spread from the cervix to the uterus, fallopian tubes, and into the abdominal and pelvic cavities. This can lead to blocked fallopian tubes as well as other female fertility issues, pregnancy complications if you are already pregnant, as well as a life-threatening infection (6).
- Maintain a healthy diet
Like gynecologic cancers, cervicitis is not directly caused by specific dietary factors. However, there is a small body of evidence that suggests that some food groups can have a protective or adverse effect on the risk of developing cervical, vaginal, and vulval cancers.
Some evidence supports the claim that the consumption of non-starchy vegetables (e.g. cruciferous greens and celery) protects against the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers, while carrots reduce the risk of cervical cancer (7).
Furthermore, the consumption of red meat was found to be positively correlated with the risk of endometrial cancer.
Your choice of what to eat may not play a direct role in the development of cervicitis and cervical, vaginal, and vulval cancers, but it can affect your susceptibility to become infected by HPV and other STIs (which can lead to the development of these cancers).
As such, it would be best to stick to a healthy diet that consists of ample fruits and vegetables (especially the ones mentioned above) while avoiding red meat and processed meat.
- Drink green tea
Green tea (Camellia sinensis) contains polyphenols and catechins which have demonstrated chemopreventive, antiviral, antitumor and immunomodulating properties (8). It has been hypothesized that green tea consumption can protect against HPV-related cancers via these mechanisms.
Regular consumption may thus alleviate the symptoms of cervicitis by suppressing the activity of HPV (if applicable), and reducing your risk of developing cancers in your ovary, endometrium, cervix, vagina, and/or vulva.
- Traditional Chinese Medicine
Evidence-based clinical research has found that the combinations of Chinese medicinal herbs and compounds used to treat genital infections such as vulvitis, vaginitis, cervicitis, and PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) have demonstrated satisfactory effects (9).
They may thus be used as a complementary drug treatment to alleviate the symptoms of cervicitis.
The traditional herbal compounds which have been studied include “Wandaitang” (a composition of Atractylodes macrocephala, Rhizoma Dioscoreae, Ginseng, Chinese herbaceous peony, Semen Plantaginis, Rhizoma Atractylodis, Glycyrrhiza uralensis, Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae, Schizonepeta tenuifolia).
This treatment has been proven to be effective in cleaning the vagina, improving vaginal blood circulation, reducing vaginal secretions and relieving local hyperemia (10). It also effects a change in the pH within the vagina which inhibits bacterial growth.
Apart from external therapy, the oral administration of “Shaofuzhuyutang” (a composition of Foeniculum vulgare, Rhizoma Zingiberis, Rhizoma Corydalis, Commiphora molmol, Radix Angelicae Sinensis, Ligusticum chuanxiong, Cortex Cinnamomi, Radix Paeoniae Rubra, Pollen Typhae, Faeces Togopterori) was also found to have satisfactory effects on cervicitis (11).
The clinical therapeutic effects of another traditional Chinese medical formula, “Jieze No. 1” (which mainly consists of Cortex phellodendri, Herba taraxaci and Borneolum syntheticum) in treating cervicitis caused by ureaplasma urealyticum (Uu) have also been demonstrated (12).
Artemisia absinthium (the common wormwood) is widely used as an aromatic and medicinal plant, usually in the forms of extracts and essential oils.
An article published in the journal Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz in 2015 found that wormwood essential oil demonstrated effective antiparasitic and antifungal activity against two parasitic protozoa: Trypanosoma cruzi and Trichomonas vaginalis (13). Since the latter can be a cause of cervicitis, wormwood as an excellent home remedy for cervicitis and can be used to alleviate the symptoms of the infection.
First, boil 1 liter of water. On the side, add one full tablespoon of wormwood essential oil to one cup of water and boil the solution until its volume reduces in half. After the tea has been strained well, add it
After the tea has been strained well, add it to the 1 liter of boiled water. Then, let the solution cool down to body temperature before you use it to clean your vagina.
One of the causes of cervicitis is an imbalance of your natural vaginal flora. Just like an imbalance of gut bacteria can cause many medical problems, so too can an imbalance of vaginal flora. Inflammation of the cervix can result.
The vaginal suppositories containing lactobacilli bacteria can be used to try and address this imbalance. If lactobacilli suppositories are unavailable, yogurt is one of the best home remedies for cervicitis as it is rich in lactobacilli bacteria. swabs of plain yogurt that contain the bacteria can also help restore the natural balance of bacteria in your vagina and alleviate your cervicitis.
Simple swabs of plain yogurt that contain the bacteria can also help restore the natural balance of bacteria in your vagina and alleviate your cervicitis
- Vitamin D
In a small study of 200 women with chronic recurrent cervical infections and with a cervix dysplasia, vitamin D suppositories were given for three nights a week for 6 weeks.
The results of using a high dose vitamin D vaginal treatment proved more effective than a previous study using lactobacillus vaginal suppositories. As such, vitamin D is a excellent home remedy for cervicitis.
Vitamin D showed very good anti-inflammatory effects. After six weeks therapy, 79% of the women had reported less vaginal problems, less discharge, less problems with the sexual intercourse.
What’s more, only 7% still had bacterial and/or fungal vaginal infections that required a treatment. The researchers found that vitamin D is reabsorbed by the vaginal mucosa, and that cervical cells demonstrated less dysplastic effects (abnormal cellular growth) (14)
- STI Home Remedies
As mentioned, most cases of cervicitis are caused by an underlying sexually transmitted infection. The best home remedy for cervicitis is, therefore, to use our home remedies for the STI in question. If you treat the STI, you will treat the cervicitis.
- For trichomoniasis, see home remedies for trichomoniasis.
- For gonorrhea, see home remedies for gonorrhea
- For genital warts, see home remedies for genital warts
- For chlamydia, see home remedies for chlamydia
- For herpes, see home remedies for herpes
- Make regular gynecological appointments (since cervicitis is often asymptomatic), especially if you have been infected by an STI in the past
- Undergo an examination for cervicitis if you exhibit any of the symptoms, or have been infected with an STI in the past
- If you have been diagnosed with cervicitis, do advise any male sexual partners to be tested for non-specific urethritis (NSU)
- If you have been diagnosed with cervicitis, get diagnosis tested for HIV and syphilis.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions and stick to your treatment plan
- Contact your doctor immediately if there are any unwanted side effects to your medication (e.g. diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and rashes)
- Practice low-risk sexual behavior (using condoms during intercourse, limiting your number of sexual partners)
- Be selective when using feminine hygiene products, as some can irritate your vagina and cervix
- Maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly to boost your immune system
- Remain vigilant of your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes
- Wear comfortable, 100% cotton wear that helps maintain vaginal hygiene
- Avoid sexual contact for a week after undergoing treatment
- Avoid any sexual contact with previous partners until a week after they have been tested for STIs or NSU, and treated for any infections
- Avoid tight underwear made of synthetic fabrics, since this can irritate the vaginal area and allow moisture to accumulate
- Avoid douching, since it has been associated with bacterial vaginosis in a way that other feminine hygiene behaviors are not, suggesting a causal association with it (i.e. the association is not due to individuals douching as a response to the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis) (15)