The cervix is the lower end of the womb (uterus). It is at the top of the vagina. It is about 2.5 to 3.5 centimeters (1 to 1.3 inches) long. The cervical canal passes through the cervix. It allows blood from a menstrual period and a baby (fetus) to pass from the womb into the vagina. The sperm travel up the cervical canal, then through the uterine cavity into the fallopian tubes to fertilize the egg.
The cervical canal also allows sperm to pass from the vagina into the uterus.
Conditions that affect the cervix include:
- Cervical cancer
- Cervical infection
- Cervical inflammation
- Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) or dysplasia
- Cervical polyps
- Cervical pregnancy
A Pap smear is a screening test to check for cancer of the cervix.
Baggish MS. Anatomy of the cervix. In: Baggish MS, Karram MM, eds. Atlas of Pelvic Anatomy and Gynecologic Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 42.
Cervix. Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. 24th ed. F.A. Davis Company; 2021. www.tabers.com/tabersonline. Accessed June 14, 2021.
Gilks B. Uterus: cervix. In: Goldblum JR, Lamps LW, McKenney JK, Myers JL, eds. Rosai and Ackerman's Surgical Pathology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 32.
National Cancer Institute website. NCI dictionaries. Cervix. www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/cervix. Accessed June 14, 2021.
Review Date 1/1/2021
Updated by: John D. Jacobson, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.