How to Prepare for a LEEP Procedure


LEEP means loop electrosurgical excision procedure. The procedure requires the use of a thin, looped wire charged with low-voltage electric current to remove abnormal tissue from the cervix. The procedure is typically performed in your gynecologist’s office as opposed to a hospital. It is an outpatient procedure that typically lasts about 20 minutes. Most patients are basically back to their normal lives within 3 days. Here are some tips to help you prepare both physically and emotionally for a LEEP.

Be informed. Talk to your doctor, conduct your own research and find out every bit of information you can about the LEEP before going in to have the procedure. Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the more comfortable you will be with the procedure.

Schedule the LEEP for a time when you will not be on your menstrual period. If you start your period on the day your LEEP is scheduled, you will need to reschedule the procedure. The menstrual period makes the cervix very difficult for the physician to see clearly.

Avoid sexual intercourse and douching for 48 hours before the procedure.

Invoke the buddy system. Recruit a friend or family member to take you to the LEEP so that you have someone available to drive you home. You may also want to have someone stick around with you for a day or so to ensure you do not have any complications from the procedure.

Refrain from taking any aspirin or aspirin-based medications before the procedure.

Be prepared to avoid intercourse, tampons, heavy lifting, douching and hot tubs or baths for 1 month after the procedure. These can increase the risk for infection.

Tips & Warnings

  • During the LEEP, you will be required to remove your clothing from the waist down and cover up with a paper blanket. Then you will put your feet into the stirrups and a speculum will be inserted into the vagina as in a routine pelvic exam. Next a gel-covered electrode pad will be placed on your thigh to ground the electric current and prevent any risk for shock. Your physician will prepare your cervix with an acetic acid and iodine solution to make the abnormal cells more visible, and then administer a local anesthetic into the cervix to numb it and prevent pain. Once your cervix has been prepared, your doctor will remove the abnormal cells and tissue and send them for further testing.
  • The LEEP comes with some mild side effects and poses possible risks. It is vital that you speak with your doctor about your risk factors and recommended course of treatment before having the procedure. Contact your doctor if you present any of these symptoms following a LEEP: You have a fever over 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C). You have severe abdominal pain. You have any discharge from your vagina that has a bad odor. You have bleeding that lasts more than 1 week.

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