Why Wait?
Teens Program Information

Ectopy is a normal state of the immature cervix of young women, This area can also be called the transformation zone.

In all females the cervix is covered with 2 types of cells. The one type is a tough cell in a thick layer, and the other type is a fragile cell in a single layer that is moist and soft. In mature females ( 24 y/o), the outer part of the cervix, (the part exposed during sex), is covered with the thick, tough type of cells.

In a young girl the outer part of the cervix is covered with the fragile, thin, moist, soft cells that are more easily infected. When this fragile type of cell covers the surface of the cervix it is called ectropion. Where the 2 cell types meet is referred to as the junction.

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Image Credit: Medical Institute

 

The location of this junction varies greatly from a young girl to a mature woman. As a young girl matures the junction moves from the outer cervix to the center of the cervix, covering more of the exposed cervix with the tougher type of cell as the junction moves.

With ectopy, the junction between the 2 cell types is some where on the outer cervix (where it is more exposed to infection). The more ectopy there is, the larger the area of fragile, single layer cells on the outer exposed surface of the cervix.

Ectropion is a single layer of cells which are moist and pink and fragile, making them much more vulnerable to infection if exposed. In addition to being highly susceptible to STDs, these fragile cells are more easily changed into precancerous cells or into cancer if infected with HPV, (human papillomavirus).

The immature cervix, that more easily becomes infected, also increases the susceptibility to PID (pelvic inflammatory disease). For example, an adolescent who contracts chlamydia or gonorrhea has a 1 in 8 chance of getting PID while a 30 year old woman with the same infection has a 1 in 80 chance. (Meeker 2002)

The cervix is matured around age 24 or with the birth of a child. This is why younger women, under the age of 24, are so much more susceptible to infection.

This is why you should Wait for Sex.