In most cases, bumps on the cervix are nothing but non-cancerous, benign growths, appearing as cysts or polyps. In other cases, however, they may indicate the onset of cervical cancer. Bumps on the cervix are usually discovered during a routine pelvic examination or pap smears when visiting a women’s healthcare physician obgyn. On discovery, the doctor will provide an overview of the issue, including its causes, treatments and risk factors, as well as guidance on how to treat it. If you suspect you might be at risk of contracting bumps on the cervix, here’s what you need to know about the issue.
The cervix is the tissue that connects the vagina to the uterus or womb. It has two distinct linings; the lining closest to the uterus, made up of glandular cells, and the lining closest to the vagina made up of squamous cells. The area where the glandular cells and squamous cells meet is referred to as the transformation zone. This area undergoes numerous transformations and changes throughout a woman’s life, especially during pregnancy and childbirth.
Because the cells in that area continuously change, the area becomes very susceptible to abnormal cell growth. The growth can form cervical polyps, nabothian cysts, cervical fibroids, and cervical cancer. Cervical polyps are mainly caused by high estrogen levels, inflammation of the cervix, and clogged blood vessels. Nabothian cysts, which usually develop in pregnant women and cervical fibroids develop inside the muscle tissue of the uterus.
Bumps on the cervix may cause a range of symptoms but sometimes may show nothing at all. Some of the common symptoms include heavy or painful periods, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, bleeding or spotting between periods, pressure and swelling in the lower abdomen, pain, and bleeding after sex, frequent urination, and pelvic, leg or lower back pains.
To diagnose the underlying cause, your doctor will collect your family and medical history as well as your current medications. They will also perform a physical exam and other tests such as ultrasound tests, MRI scans, Hysteroscopy, laparoscopy, and biopsies. The ultrasound test uses sound waves to form images of the organs inside the abdomen and pelvis. MRI scans use strong magnetic fields and radio waves to form the images.
A hysteroscopy involves guiding a thin, tub-like device (hysteroscopy) to the uterus through the vagina to capture images of the uterus and transmit it to a screen. Laparoscopy involves the use of a camera attached to the end of the tube used to examine the reproductive organs. Lastly, a biopsy uses small samples taken from the lining of the cervical tissue, which are then sent to the laboratory for analysis. Biopsies can detect precancerous or cancerous cells.
Cervical polyps, nabothian cysts, and other benign growths often don’t require treatment. However, they can grow large enough to cause problems and affect one’s quality of life. Treatment options for bumps on the cervix include surgery, medication treatments. Examples of surgery treatments include polypectomy where the polyps are removed by a string or forceps, electrocautery ablation where heat from an electric current is used to remove the cyst or a myomectomy where surgeons remove fibroids by making a small incision in the lower abdomen.
Medications can include Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) which causes the body to produce less progesterone and estrogen. Pain relievers can also help reduce cramps.