Infection is the most common cause of an inflamed cervix, according to Healthline. Also called cervicitis, the condition can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease if the infection stems from certain sexually transmitted infections. Pelvic inflammatory disease can result in infertility if left untreated.
Doctors categorize cervicitis as acute or chronic, Healthline explains. Patients experience acute cervicitis when symptoms arise suddenly, while chronic cervicitis lasts several months.
Sexually transmitted infections, such as herpes, human papillomavirus and trichomoniasis, can cause cervicitis, Healthline states. Other factors that lead to the condition include normal vaginal bacteria as well as an allergy to chemicals in tampons, condoms or spermicide. Chronic cervicitis occurs frequently during pregnancy or after childbirth due to hormones increasing blood flow to the cervix.
Pelvic inflammatory disease can occur when a cervical infection caused by gonorrhea or chlamydia spreads to the uterine lining and fallopian tubes, Healthline reports. The condition causes fever, pelvic pain and discharge.
More than half of all women contract cervicitis at least once in their lifetimes, Healthline says. Many woman experience no symptoms. Some report gray or white discharge that sometimes smells foul, abnormal vagina bleeding, vaginal pain, painful intercourse and a feeling of pelvic pressure. Women with these symptoms should see a doctor.