Get to Know Your Cervix 


The cervix is a small yet very mighty organ that does so much for the female body. Let's learn more about this magical pathway.


The cervix is a small yet very mighty organ that does so much for the female body. Let's learn more about this magical pathway.

So, what exactly is a cervix?

Female reproductive anatomy cervix vagina uterus

Your cervix sits at the lowest point of the uterus (your womb) and acts as a passage between the vagina and the rest of the uterus. It is about 3 to 4 cm in length. When seen from below, it looks like a pink donut. Cervix is derived from the Latin word ‘collard’, which means neck. 

The hole of the cervix is called the external os. So many things come in and out of this little hole, including menstrual blood, sperm, IUDs, and babies.

Why is the cervix important?

Where do we even start...

  1. It keeps bacteria out of the uterus and produces discharge to clean your vagina.
  2. It opens, allowing the lining of the uterus to shed, and blood to flow out at menstruation. It then closes back up after your period is done.
  3. The consistency of cervical mucus varies based on what phase of the menstrual cycle you're in and can serve as an indicator of fertility. When the mucus is thin, clear, abundant, and ‘stretchier’, you are more likely to be ovulating and will release an egg. 
  4. During sex, the cervix opens to allow for the entrance of sperm into the uterus. 
  5. During pregnancy, the cervix seals off the womb, baby, and placenta. It then forms an airtight seal for the duration of the pregnancy. 
  6. During labor, the cervix widens, and when it reaches 10 cm of dilation, it means it’s time for the baby to come out. 

Did you know that your cervix changes positions, too?

Due to the hormonal changes throughout the menstrual cycle, the positioning of the cervix, along with the fluids it produces, changes. 

Estrogen is the hormone responsible for pulling the cervix up. As estrogen levels peak right before ovulation, the cervix is pulled up. Estrogen also makes mucus thin and more basic, making it friendly to semen around ovulation. Estrogen drops at ovulation, along with the cervix, right after the egg is released. 

Progesterone then starts to rise, making the cervical mucus thick and more acidic, acting as a barrier to keep sperm out. 

These changes can also impact sensations during sex, and you may find that certain positions are more or less comfortable and pleasurable for you at different times of your cycle. Similarly, while some women may experience heightened pleasure or even cervical orgasms from the stimulation of the cervix, for others the sensation is uncomfortable. 

How to look after your cervix

Even if you can’t see it, there are a few crucial measures you can take to keep your cervix healthy, which in part will help you stay healthy. 

  1. Get regular pap smears. This is a test that allows your doctor to detect signs of abnormal cells, which can help identify cervical cancer or precancerous conditions. 
  2. Use protection during sex. STIs can have various effects of varying severity on your cervix, from inflammation caused by chlamydia to cervical cancer caused by HPV. 
  3. Limit your consumption of tobacco products. Some studies have linked smoking with an increased risk of developing cervical cancer, and it can also reduce your body’s ability to fight off infections and reduce inflammation. 
  4. Take care of your immune system, which plays a key role in helping your body fight off infections. 

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