Your doctor will likely perform a physical examination, including:
A pelvic exam.
This exam may reveal redness of the cervix and evidence of
discharge. During the exam, your doctor checks your external
genitalia to make sure they look normal. To see the inner walls of
your vagina and cervix, your doctor inserts an instrument called a
speculum into your vagina to hold the vaginal walls apart. After
removing the speculum, your doctor inserts two gloved fingers inside
your vagina. While simultaneously pressing down on your abdomen, he
or she palpates your uterus and ovaries.
A Pap smear.
With the speculum in place, your doctor uses a small wooden or
plastic spatula and a brush to gently remove cells from your cervix.
The procedure generally takes only a few minutes. Your doctor places
the cells on a glass slide or in a preservative solution (a method
of collecting and preparing cells known as ThinPrep) and sends them
to a laboratory for microscopic examination. He or she may use swabs
to get a sample of your discharge for lab testing for infections.
Cervicitis that's caused by gonorrhea or chlamydia can spread to the
uterine lining and the fallopian tubes, resulting in pelvic inflammatory
disease (PID), an infection of the female reproductive organs, including
the uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix and ovaries. Women who develop PID
may experience no signs or symptoms.
PID may be detected only later when
a woman has trouble becoming pregnant and learns that her reproductive
organs have been damaged.