The Cervix



Although it is often considered to be a separate organ, the cervix is actually part of the uterus and has the formal designation of cervix uteri, even if hardly anybody ever calls it that. The anatomy of the cervix is discussed with that of the uterus. Nevertheless, whatever the arguments of anatomy may be the cervix is usually discussed in textbooks and other sources as being a discrete organ in its own right. From a pathological perspective there is a reasonable justification behind this because the diseases of the cervix are distinct from those of the rest of the uterus.

The range of these cervical diseases is rather limited and comprises little more than inflammation, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, cervical carcinoma and other tumours.

Clinical Aspects

The cervix has a narrow repertoire of responses to disease. There may be abnormal vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge, dyspareunia or pain. Postcoital bleeding is a symptom which particularly suggests cervical pathology.


Colposcopy is a form of examination of the cervix in which the cervix is inspected using a binocular microscope that magnifies by up to twenty-five times. A speculum is placed into the vagina to expose the cervix to direct vision. Iodine and acetic acid are applied to the cervix to accentuate certain patterns of abnormality (if they are present).

Biopsies may be taken from the cervix during colposcopy.

Colposcopy is employed primarily in the diagnosis and management of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia.