What Is Cervical Stenosis?

What is cervical stenosis, and how does it affect fertility?
BySamuel Wood, MD
Reproductive Endocrinologist
Mar 2017
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Stenosis is a medical term that refers to the narrowing in any passage of your body, from your arteries to your spinal canal. Stenosis of the uterine cervix (shortened to “cervical stenosis”) has to do with the narrowing of — you guessed it — your cervix. You can sometimes be born with a narrow cervical canal, but more typically it’s due to a procedure like a LEEP or cone biopsy, where your cervix comes under the knife. In severe cases, the blood that gets sloughed off each month with your period can’t pass through the cervix, causing a painful blockage.

Symptoms of cervical stenosis generally include spotting or reduced bleeding with painful cramping. Cervical stenosis can play a role in fertility, since a narrower canal can make it difficult for his sperm to reach your uterus. The good news is that the condition is highly treatable. Your doctor can dilate the cervix with a local anesthetic or, in some cases, shave off some cervical tissue to create a wider canal. If you have severe cramps but little to no bleeding around your period — and especially if you’ve had a recent cervical biopsy or other similar procedure — talk to your doctor to rule out stenosis.

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Eric Widra, MD, chair of practice committee for the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology and a reproductive endocrinologist with Shady Grove Fertility in Washington, DC
Fertility Specialist