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In the Clinic |

Vaginitis and Cervicitis

Jennifer F. Wilson
Ann Intern Med. 2009;151(5):ITC3-1. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-151-5-200909010-01003
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The vagina has a squamous epithelium and is susceptible to bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, and candidiasis. Vaginitis may also result from irritants, allergic reactions, or postmenopausal atrophy. The endocervix has a columnar epithelium and is susceptible to infection with Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, or less commonly, herpes simplex virus. Vaginitis causes discomfort, but rarely has serious consequences except during pregnancy and gynecologic surgery. Cervicitis may be asymptomatic and if untreated, can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can damage the reproductive organs and lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy, or chronic pelvic pain. Because vaginitis and cervicitis are common, clinicians should be familiar with their prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

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