THE CERVIX is a part of the body that not everybody has.
But what is it, what does it do and who has one? Here we answer everything you need to know.
What is the cervix?
The cervix sits between the womb/uterus and the top of the vagina, inside the body.
It sometimes gets the name “the neck of the womb”.
To look at, it’s a bit like a ring doughnut the size of two inches.
The fleshy ring has many functions; it helps keep the vagina clean, for example.
It also can provide pleasure during sex – although it is not possible to penetrate the opening of it, it can be bumped up against.
Importantly, the cervix is vital for protecting a foetus during pregnancy by creating a mucus plug that stops bacteria out of the womb.
When the baby is ready to come out, the cervix opens up to allow the baby to come out. This is what doctors look at to say whether the patient is “dilated” during labour.
It’s important to protect the cervix, as cervical cancer can be deadly.
Anyone with a cervix is encouraged to get their free NHS smear test when invited, which checks for anything abnormal on the cervix.
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Do men have a cervix?
People who have a cervix include women, transgender (trans) men and people assigned female at birth.
Some trans men have a total hysterectomy and have the cervix – as well as ovaries and womb – removed.But not all choose to do this.
Men do not biologically have a cervix because it is part of the female reproductive system.
Meanwhile, some women need to have them removed or in very rare cases, are not born with a cervix.
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How to book in for a check
Cervical screening is done by a GP or female nurse or doctor.
You'll get a letter sent to book your appointment and it's important that you schedule it as soon as you can.
You can usually do this by following the instructions sent on the letter, for some surgeries this will mean an online booking and others will be on the phone.
It's best to book it for when you have finished your period or for when you have finished treatment for an infection.
The NHS says you should avoid using any vaginal medicines, lubricants or creams in the 2 days before you have your test as they can affect the results.
If you are worried about your cervix then you should book an appointment to see your GP.
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