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What You Want to Know About Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP)

A loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) is a process that utilizes a heated wire loop warmed through an electric current, to extract tissues and cells inside a woman's lower genital tract. It can be used to diagnose and treat unusual or cancerous ailments. After the procedure collects the cells and tissues from the lower genital tract, these samples will go to a lab for an examination. LEEP can also effectively extract unusual cells to support healthy tissue development.

Why Would I Need an LEEP?

A LEEP might be executed when cervical or vaginal issues are discovered in a pelvic exam or Pap test, or to identify cases of cervical or vaginal cancer.

What Are the Risks of LEEP?

There are a few possible side-effects of the procedure, such as infection, bleeding, trouble becoming pregnant, and scarring of the cervix.

Based on your individual situation, the procedure might present additional risks. Talk with your doctor about any concerns you have before the procedure.

How Can I Prepare for an LEEP?

  • Your doctor will describe the process and give you the opportunity to ask questions.
  • Usually, no fasting or sedation is necessary for a LEEP.
  • Review the consent form that grants your doctor's permission to perform the procedure. Be sure to ask questions if you do not understand something on the form.
  • Let your doctor know if you have a history of bleeding issues.
  • Tell your doctor if you are currently using any blood-thinners or other medications that impact blood clotting. You will likely be instructed to stop taking these medications prior to undergoing a LEEP.
  • Refrain from using tampons, vaginal lotions, or engaging in sexual intercourse before your LEEP.
  • LEEP is generally not executed during your menstrual period.
  • Adhere to any additional guidance your doctor gives you to prepare. 

What Happens After My LEEP?

In the first days after your procedure, it is normal to experience moderate cramping. You may also notice dark-colored vaginal discharge, which is due to the medicine that manages bleeding. While you should refrain from using tampons or douching, you may wear a sanitary pad to manage the discharge. 

Do not have sex for a minimum of four weeks after a LEEP. The limitations might be longer depending on your situation, so make a point to discuss this with your doctor. 

Call your doctor if you experience any of the following in the aftermath of a LEEP:

  • Bleeding with clotting
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sharp stomach pain
  • Discharge with a foul odor

For additional questions, talk with a physician at Women’s Medical Associates of Nashville.

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