What does LEEP stand for?
Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure. As scary as that sounds, it is actually a very quick procedure done in the office. A small loop powered by electricity is used to remove an outer portion of the cervix.
If you have precancerous cells on your cervix, you may need a LEEP. A LEEP is done for diagnosis and for treatment. It provides the pathologist with a larger specimen that hopefully contains all or most of the abnormal cells.
What should I expect with a LEEP?
You do not have to fast before your LEEP. You should have a meal and take whatever pills you take for your menstrual cramps before you come to the office. When you come to the office, you will be escorted to the exam room. We will give you a soft gown and a sheet to drape over your lap.
Your practitioner will introduce an appropriate size speculum and repeat the colposcopy. A grounding pad will be placed on your leg. We will then numb your cervix with lidocaine and use a thin electric wire to remove a circumferential section of your cervix. This will probably cause cramping. Generally, the cramping resolves in a few minutes.
A combination of cautery and iron solution are used to stop any bleeding. This usually causes a discharge that looks like coffee grounds and may last for up to two weeks. Sometimes a discharge comes out that looks like a used condom.
Post LEEP Instructions
As your cervix heals from the LEEP, there may be a few things normal things that you notice.
You may have some mild cramping which Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen or whatever you take for menstrual cramps may help. Light bleeding and brown discharge is also normal. Severe cramping, fever, or heavy bleeding, are not normal and you should call us if you experience these symptoms.
You may notice an unusual vaginal discharge immediately after the procedure. This may be just the medicine we put on your cervix, and later may be yellowish-brown, thinner, and have an odor.
You may have a heavier than usual flow with your next period.
Avoid the following for 2 weeks after your LEEP:
- Sexual intercourse
- Heavy lifting
- Vigorous exercise