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What Should I Do after LEEP Surgery?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 17 March 2014
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If your doctor detects abnormal cells in your cervix during a colposcopic examination, you may be advised to get a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP). This surgery involves inserting a thin, electrified wire loop into the cervix to cut out any abnormal cells. After LEEP surgery, your cervix may be sore for a few weeks and, during this time, pink or brown discharge and cramping are usually considered normal side effects. You are advised not to place anything into the cervix as it heals, which means tampons and intercourse are usually not recommended until your doctor says it is OK. Once you fully recover, you are advised to schedule regular pelvic exams and practice safe sex to help keep your cervix free of cancer and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

After LEEP surgery, you will likely notice mild cramping for a few hours. If it is severe or seems to get worse several hours after the procedure, you should call your doctor, because this is not considered normal. Another side effect of this procedure is brown or black discharge for about a week as the paste used during the surgery gradually makes it way out. Pink spotting also is common and may last up to three weeks. You should call a doctor, though, if you bleed heavily, spot for several weeks or notice any yellow vaginal discharge, because these symptoms may signal an infection or other problems.

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Your body needs time to heal from any type of surgical procedure, which is why you need to follow your doctor's precautions after LEEP surgery. For example, you should typically not have intercourse for at least three weeks after the procedure. Douching or placing anything near the cervix also is not recommended at this time, which means you are advised to use pads or panty liners instead of tampons to absorb any discharge. You can, however, resume normal activities, such as work or school, a day or two after LEEP surgery, in most cases.

Having LEEP surgery may get rid of abnormal cells, but it is possible for them to return, which means it is important to be vigilant about getting regular pelvic exams from your doctor. At first, you will likely need a Pap smear every six months for a couple years, and then you likely can to start going annually once it is clear that the abnormal cells have not come back. After LEEP surgery, you are advised to avoid smoking if you want to reduce your chances of getting cervical cancer. In addition, using condoms during sexual activity can help keep your cervix healthy, reducing your chances of getting an STD.

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