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Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure
A loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP)
A LEEP is a procedure to remove abnormal tissue from your cervix or vagina. The tissue can be tested for cancer or infection. You may need a LEEP if other tests have found abnormal cells on your cervix or in your vagina.
How to prepare for a LEEP:
Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for your procedure. Do not douche, use tampons, or have sex for 24 hours before the procedure. Do not put medicines in your vagina for 24 hours before the procedure. Call your healthcare provider if you have your menstrual period on the day of the procedure. You may need to wait until your period ends to have the procedure. Arrange for someone to drive you home and stay with you after your procedure.
What will happen during a LEEP:
- Your healthcare provider will insert a speculum in your vagina. A speculum is an instrument that holds the vagina open so your provider can see your cervix. You will be given local anesthesia to numb your cervix. With local anesthesia, you may feel pressure or pushing during your procedure, but you should not feel pain.
- Your healthcare provider will insert a tube with a looped wire at the end into your vagina. He or she will use this instrument to remove a sample of tissue from your cervix. You may feel pain or cramping when the sample is taken. You may also feel dizzy. Tell your healthcare provider if the dizziness gets worse. Your healthcare provider may use a paste or tools to control bleeding.
What will happen after a LEEP:
Your healthcare provider will monitor you for heavy bleeding. You may have cramping, bleeding, or dark brown discharge after your procedure. These symptoms may last up to 4 weeks.
Risks of a LEEP:
You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. Your menstrual periods may feel more painful after the procedure. You may have problems getting pregnant or be at risk for a miscarriage or preterm birth. If you do get pregnant, your baby may be underweight.
Seek care immediately if:
- You have severe pain in your lower abdomen.
- You soak through 1 sanitary pad in 1 hour or less.
- You feel weak, dizzy, or faint.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever, chills, or foul-smelling discharge.
- You have bleeding with clots.
- Your bleeding is heavier than your menstrual period.
- Your pain gets worse or does not get better after you take pain medicine.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Rest for 48 hours or as directed. Do not exercise, play sports, or lift anything heavier than 5 pounds. Do not go swimming or get in a hot tub. Ask your healthcare provider when you can return to your usual activities.
Shower only after your procedure. Do not take a bath. Baths may increase your risk for an infection. Ask your healthcare provider how long to follow these instructions.
Do not put anything in your vagina for 2 weeks:
Do not douche, use medicines in your vagina, or have sex. Do not use tampons. Instead, wear a sanitary pad for bleeding.
Get pap smears as directed:
A pap smear can help diagnose cervical cancer early. Cervical cancer that is diagnosed early is easier to treat.
Do not smoke:
Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can increase your risk for cervical cancer. Ask your healthcare provider for more information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
Practice safe sex:
Safe sex can help decrease your risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). STIs can cause cervical cancer. Limit your number of sex partners. Use condoms and barrier methods for all types of sexual contact. Use a new condom or latex barrier each time you have sex. This includes oral, vaginal, and anal sex. Make sure that the condom fits and is put on correctly.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.