Cervical stenosis is a condition within the female reproductive system where an obstruction inside the cervix blocks passage from the vagina into the uterus. It is a condition that can be present at birth or can occur later in life.
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Women who were not born with cervical stenosis can acquire the condition due to a number of medical circumstances. These issues include cervical or endometrial cancer, radiation exposure to treat cervical or endometrial cancer, surgery in the area of the cervix, removal of the uterus lining (a procedure to alleviate endometriosis) and changes initialised by menopause.
The word stenosis means "stiffening." The stiffening refers to the muscles that encompass the cervix, allowing it to open and close correctly. In the case of cervical stenosis, these muscles stiffen and cannot function properly. Or, scar or other abnormal tissue can clog the cervix, also preventing passage.
Problems caused by cervical stenosis include a build-up of blood or infection inside the uterus, which can be painful and dangerous. The blockade inside the cervix can also prevent menstrual flow, leading to a loss of monthly periods and prevent passage of sperm to create infertility.
Depending on the degree of stenosis or the amount of scar tissue, pregnancy may be difficult or impossible. If the cervix is completely blocked, pregnancy through sexual intercourse will not occur. If there is only a partial blockage, pregnancy is possible with a lower percentage of success rate.
Cervical stenosis can be treated with a procedure where a tiny, metal rod is inserted into the cervix. The rods gradually increase in diameter, and are left in to help the cervix open up. It may take four to six weeks for proper dilation, after which normal contraception is possible.
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Women with cervical stenosis can become pregnant using intrauterine insemination. This is procedure where the sperm is inserted into the uterus through a metal tube. Intrauterine insemination is not the preferred treatment for cervical stenosis because the cervical dilation procedure explained above is much easier, non-invasive and more successful.
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