Women's Health

Ladies, This Is How To Keep Your Cervix Super Healthy

You know something that, personally, I don’t think deserves enough love and respect? Our cervix. It’s that small body part (approximately one inch long and wide) that is down at the neck (base) of our uterus. Its purpose? It helps to carry the sperm to our uterus. Not only that, but during our period, it’s where the menstrual blood flows out. Also, during labor, something known as a cervical mucus plug is released so that our cervix is able to dilate so that we’re able to give birth.

Yeah, as you can see, the cervix is something that’s pretty special. And that’s exactly why I wanted to take a few moments to share with you 10 tips that can help to keep yours in great shape. Let’s get into it.

1. Get Pap Smears

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If you’ve ever wondered, a pap smear is literally designed to test the cells of your cervix. Although, back when I was a late teen and in my early 20s, it was recommended that women get a pap smear on an annual basis, no matter what, many medical professionals are now saying that women between the ages of 21-65 only need them every three years (after having three pap tests in a row that come back fine).

An exception is if you have a family history of cervical cancer or if you participate in risky sexual behavior (like unprotected sex, especially if you’re not in an exclusive relationship). In those instances, your physician may recommend that you get tested every year. It’s also a good idea to keep in mind that if you’ve had a full hysterectomy, there is no need for a pap because you no longer have a cervix.

2. Learn As Much As You Can About the HPV Vaccine

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I’m pretty sure that you know at least a few details about HPV. Just to be sure, though, those three letters are the “nickname” for the human papillomavirus (HPV), which reportedly has 100 different “strains” (some reports even go as high as 150). Some of them are warts; some turn into different forms of cancer. While it should go on the record that (currently) most HPV infections do not turn into cancer, because certain genital warts can lead to cancer of the uterus and/or cervix, and since there are close to 14,000 new cases of cervical cancer a year, that’s why many medical professionals recommend that young children receive the HPV vaccine (although it should also go on record that you don’t have to be a virgin to get vaccinated and people who’ve never had sexual intercourse can also get HPV because it can be transmitted through the mouth and fingers). Honestly, this point right here could be its own article, so my two cents would be to study up on HPV and HPV vaccines as much as possible.

3. Eat Foods That Are High in Vitamin C

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Is your diet high in vitamin C? If not, keeping your cervix in good condition is one reason to consider adding more C into your system. That’s right. Studies show that vitamin C is a nutrient that lowers the risk of bladder, breast, and endometrial cancer, as well as cervical tumors. Foods that are high in vitamin C include citrus fruit, potatoes, tomatoes, berries, cruciferous vegetables, kiwi, and cantaloupe. You can also take a vitamin C supplement if you’d prefer to go that route.

4. Also, Eat Foods That Reduce Bodily Inflammation

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Personally, I find it to be both sad and accurate that one article defined the Westernized diet to be one that is full of “high in saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium.” SMDH. A huge problem with all of this, as it specifically relates to what we’re discussing today, is that kind of stuff can lead to chronic inflammation, which ultimately ends up weakening your immune system while making it easier for the HPV infections to cause problems in your body. That’s why it’s smart to eat foods that lower the risk of inflammation, ones like salmon, cherries, dark leafy greens, olive oil, and almonds.

5. Avoid Whole Milk

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I think I can count on one hand how many times I’ve had whole milk. That’s because, while growing up, sweet acidophilus low-fat milk was all I saw in the fridge — and now? Oat milk is my jam. However, if whole milk is your personal fave, I want to encourage you to do some (additional) reading and research on it because, according to science, whole milk consumption can elevate your risk of certain cancers, including breast, bladder, lung, stomach and yes, cancer of the cervix. One reason is because dairy can help to trigger inflammation in your body, and as we’ve just discussed, inflammation can wreak all kinds of havoc if you’re not careful.

6. Drink Grapefruit Juice or Pineapple Juice

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Cervical mucus deserves its own article, too, because it plays such a critical role in fertility. For now, what I’ll say is if you’re trying to get pregnant in the near future, do some research on holistic approaches to keeping your cervical mucus (the fluid that both sustains and carries the sperm to your uterus so that you can conceive) healthy. One way that many health professionals who practice things like Chinese medicine recommend is that you drink grapefruit and/or pineapple juice on a regular basis. Long story short, it helps to keep your mucus in optimal condition for the sperm to thrive in.

7. Be Careful with Cervical Stimulation

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In the quest to experience as many different kinds of orgasms as possible, you might have heard of (or even tried) a “cervical orgasm”; it’s all about stimulating your cervix in order to receive a different type of pleasurable climax. And while it’s not about penetrating your cervix (that is pretty much impossible to do), you need to be proactively cautious while doing it. Why? Because if what’s stimulating your cervix has fluid that’s full of an STI/STD, it could still be transmitted to you.

8. Use Condoms

If you want to avoid getting pregnant or contracting an STI/STD, condoms are still the most effective way to do both. Now, I will say that you have to use them flawlessly for them to be 98 percent reliable as far as not getting pregnant goes, it’s around 90 percent effective at preventing HIV transmission and 85 percent effective when used “typically” (which means with a bit of room for error like it not being the best fit or it’s put on too late or taken off too early). Still, even though condoms aren’t perfect, they are a helluva lot better at keeping you from getting HPV than not using them, so — unless you’re in a mutually exclusive relationship where both of you test every 6-12 months, you need to wrap it up…each and every time that you “engage.”

9. Yes, Body Count Matters Here

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Speaking of wrapping up, while I know that it will probably be until the end of time that folks will debate if body counts actually matter or not when it comes to keeping your cervix healthy, the answer is…it does. There’s a good amount of medical intel out here that supports the fact that “the greater the list, the greater the risk.” That’s because the more people you’ve been with, the higher the possibility that you’ve been exposed to HPV. So, just to be on the safe side, choose to not see sex as merely “recreational”; choose your partners with caution. If for no other reason than your cervix needs you to.

10. Don’t Smoke

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If you were to Google any article on how to keep your cervix healthy, I’m willing to bet some pretty good money that it’s going to tell you not to smoke. One reason is because smoking is known to suppress your immune system, which can make you more susceptible to HPV. Plus, women who smoke are two times more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer than those who don’t. And what about weed? Well, studies are still ongoing about that. What I will say is smoke in the lungs is…smoke in the lungs, and anything that can lead to inflammation is ultimately problematic on some level. So, just puff, puff, pass in moderation, and stay up on new developments on the topic— for your cervix’s sake, aight? Cool.

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Featured image by Carol Yepes/Getty Images




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