How Unprotected Sex Leads To Cervical Cancer

The most common symptom of cervical cancer is abnormal bleeding, such as bleeding between periods or after sexual intercourse. 

Sambhav Kumar
Written by: Sambhav KumarUpdated at: Mar 07, 2023 22:40 IST
How Unprotected Sex Leads To Cervical Cancer

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Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that affects the cells of the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus. After breast cancer It is the second most common type of cancer affecting women worldwide. The cause of cervical cancer is usually linked to the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that can be spread by skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity. Cervical cancer is the second most frequent cancer in women in India, despite being entirely avoidable. Every year, over 1.25 lakh women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in India, and over 75 thousand die from the condition. The human papillomavirus causes the majority of cervical cancers (more than 95 per cent) (HPV).

The most common symptom of cervical cancer is abnormal bleeding, such as bleeding between periods or after sexual intercourse. Other symptoms may include pain during intercourse, a foul-smelling vaginal discharge, and pelvic pain. In an interation with OnlyMyHealth Dr Manjiri Mehta, Consultant Gynaecologist & Obstetrician, Hiranandani Hospital Vashi-A Fortis Network Hospital, shared how unprotected sex cause cervical cancer.

How Unprotected Sex Leads To Cervical Cancer

Unprotected sex can lead to cervical cancer by transmitting human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a very common sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is spread through skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity. Some types of HPV can cause changes in the cells of the cervix, leading to cervical cancer.

Also read: Do Birth Control Pills Increase The Risk Of Cervical Cancer? Expert Explains

HPV is transmitted during sex. It can be spread through:

  • vaginal sex
  • oral sex
  • anal sex

Safe sexual practices can reduce the risk of transmission. Condoms should be used for vaginal and anal sex. Condoms or dental dams can also reduce the risk of virus transmission during oral sex. However, condoms cannot prevent HPV entirely. The virus spreads through skin-to-skin contact. Apart from cervical cancer, HPV infection spread through sexual contact has been associated to:

  • Anal cancer
  • Vulvar cancer
  • Throat cancer

Having safe intercourse on a regular basis reduces your chances of having any HPV-related malignancy.

Also read: Cervical Cancer: Expert Explains The Importance Of PAP Smear Test To Detect It

Several variables related to your sexual past can raise your risk of cervical cancer. The risk factors include:

  • Early sexual activity (especially younger than 18 years old)
  • Having numerous sexual partners
  • Having a high-risk partner (someone with HPV infection or who has many sexual partners)

Chlamydia is a type of bacteria that is relatively prevalent and can affect the reproductive system. It spreads through sexual contact. Women infected with Chlamydia frequently have no symptoms and may be unaware that they are infected unless tested during a pelvic exam. Infection with Chlamydia can induce pelvic inflammation, which can lead to infertility.

Some studies have discovered a higher risk of cervical cancer in women whose blood tests and cervical mucus had indications of past or present chlamydia infection. Certain research suggests that the Chlamydia bacteria may aid in the growth and survival of HPV  in the cervix, thus increasing the risk of cervical cancer.


The primary way to prevent cervical cancer is to get vaccinated against HPV. Vaccines that reduce the risk of HPV infection are available for both males and females. Additionally, regular cervical cancer screening can help detect cervical cancer in its early stages, when it is easier to treat. Treatment for cervical cancer depends on the stage of cancer. Treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these treatments.

Cervical cancer is a serious condition and can be fatal if left untreated. It is important to be aware of the risk factors and symptoms.  

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