What is cervical erosion?

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:50 pm
The cervix is the neck or narrow end of the uterus where it meets the vagina. Outside, the cervix is normally covered by a pink tissue called squamous (SKWAY-muss) cell, while the tissue inside the canal is a red, glandular (GLAND-you-ler) tissue. These two different tissues converge at the opening of the cervical canal, known as the os(OAS/long o). A cervical erosion occurs when some of the cells on the opening have eroded, exposing the raw surface of the cervix. The effect is similar to a scrape on the skin of the arm or other outer body surface. There may be a red or dark pink spot on the cervix, and sometimes a white discharge is present. Erosions are quite common, and thought to occur in 95 percent of women at some point. Typically, they cause no symptoms, and require no treatment, unless there's also an infection. A related condition is cervical eversion. This describes red columnar tissue that grows beyond or drops out of its normal place in the cervical canal, onto the cervix. Eversion may happen as a result of infection, which causes swollen tissue to protrude from the cervical opening. Or, women may be born with this condition. Again, treatment is not usually required. However, because both erosion and eversion make the cervix red, it's wise to do a Pap smear and perhaps a cervical biopsy, just to rule out any suspicion of cancer. For more information on cervical erosion, consult a health care provider.

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