Cervical ectropion or cervical erosion is just one of the things that can go wrong with a vagina. I suffered from CE for over 10 years before I got treated so I thought I would share my experience for anyone else who has this issue.
What is cervical ectropion?
Cervical ectropion is when cervical cells can be found outside the cervix and whilst fine for some people, it can cause pain, bleeding and mucus discharge in others. It is caused by hormones that are either natural or caused by contraception or pregnancy.
For me, it all started when I was 21 and I decided to go on the Depo-Provera contraceptive injection instead of the pill. My housemate at university was on the injection and her periods stopped as a result. I wasn’t a fan of the pill as it caused me to bleed constantly so I thought the injection would be better. I could not have been more wrong.
When I had the injection, I didn’t bleed for 5 weeks and then I came on my ‘period’ and bled solidly for the next 7 months. I went back to the doctors three times during this time to find out what was going on. Bear in mind that this was a university doctor’s surgery, so they tested me for STIs and pregnancy and both came back negative.
They said that another injection would stop the bleeding, it didn’t. Then they said that another injection would stop the bleeding, it didn’t. Three injections over three months is a whole lot of hormones and this wasn’t doing anything for my relationship, or general state of mind. I kept getting fobbed off and I also had recurrent cystitis which wasn’t treated properly either, but that’s another story.
Flash forward to finishing university by which time my relationship had ended, but my period hadn’t. It wasn’t as constant as before but the blood kept coming much more often than once a month.
I went to see a doctor in my hometown, at this point weak and exhausted from anaemia due to constant blood loss. She was sympathetic, actually looked at my cervix, explained that it was bleeding and gave me a referral. Finally, someone actually thought my condition was worth examining.
I visited a gynaecologist, who told me in no uncertain terms that ‘it was a mess down there’. Just what every 22-year-old woman wants to hear when a man is peering into her vagina.
He said I could go for a scan to look for cysts, but at this point, I was going travelling so I opted to go on the contraceptive pill instead. The pill did actually help get my periods back to normal, but every time I came off it the problem started again. So I took the pill whilst in South America and ended up on it long-term when I returned as I have heavy periods and I started up in a long-term relationship.
Read more: How to have an eco-friendly period
I came off the pill after seven years due to mental health concerns and I noticed the same symptoms again. I had pain during sex, as well as blood and mucus coming out of me. I decided enough was enough and decided to get a referral.
I was referred to a sexual health clinic near my house and the two women there were nice. The doctor did show me a lot of pictures of cervical erosion on Google, arguably too many but she was just doing her job well. She was managing my expectations that I may not need treatment but as soon as she saw my cervix, she said it needed treating.
This was no surprise to me, as they struggle to get any cells when I have a smear test and every time I go I end up bleeding over the speculum whilst the nurse apologised to me.
Luckily she said she could do it then and there, it didn’t need to be cauterised which is one of the treatments but she could use silver nitrate instead.
It didn’t hurt and she used three sticks of it, she said it worked as it turned my cervix grey. It doesn’t last forever but its stemmed the tide and I’m not in pain now. I like to think that I have an exciting silver-plated cervix now.
After the silver nitrate treatment, I was advised not to put anything in my vagina for a week as it will literally burn through it. So obviously no sex, not even with a condom. Strangely, I didn’t have a period for quite a few weeks afterwards which is unusual, so maybe my vagina was slightly in shock. The thing they didn’t tell me was that silver dust would leak out of me – so be prepared for that as it can happen for up a week post treatment.
This is just my experience and you should go on whatever method of contraception is right for you. If you have any problems like I’ve described then visit your doctor and they will be able to sort you out. I suffered with it for so long so I would recommend getting it sorted out asap and then you can figure out the best course of action to take.
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