A cervical ectropion occurs when the skin cells normally found inside the cervical canal become exposed onto the outer surface of the cervix, which is at the top of the vagina. An ectropion has a raw appearance and a velvety feel. It occurs due to stimulation of the cervix by the female hormone oestrogen and is often seen at puberty, during pregnancy and in women taking the oral contraceptive pill.
An ectropion is a perfectly normal condition. It is very common and does not usually cause any problem. It occurs in most women at some stage in their lives and does not generally require any treatment.
However, some women have unusual vaginal bleeding and/or excessive vaginal discharge. The mucus discharge can be heavy enough to necessitate the wearing of panty liners and can be tinged with blood, especially after intercourse. If the exposed area of the ectropion becomes infected, then the discharge may increase further.
This condition is not pre-cancerous. There is no evidence to suggest that there is any link between cervical ectropion and cervical cancer.
Treatment is not required unless a woman’s symptoms are severe. The most commonly used form of treatment for an ectropion is cryocautery. This involves “freezing” the ectropion and thereby destroying it and allowing normal, thicker skin to grow in its place. It is not usually a very painful procedure and only takes about 10 minutes. It can be done as an outpatient.