LEEP is a procedure that can be done in the doctor’s office or hospital to remove abnormal tissue from the cervix. This handout tells you what to expect before, during, and after.

Before the LEEP

  • Do not use creams or gels in the vagina before the procedure for at least 2 days.

  • If you will be on your period at the time of the procedure, please call the clinic to see if we need to reschedule.

  • Please tell the clinic before your procedure if you may be pregnant.

  • You may take 3 ibuprofen tablets (200 mg each) or 2 Aleve® tablets (220 mg each) one hour before.

  • Eat a light meal or snack at least one hour before your visit (do not arrive fasting).


If you are between 12-55 years of age, you must use birth control if you have sex during the 14 days before your test. This means you must:

  • Use birth control pills without missing or being late with a pill.

  • Have a current Depo Provera injection.

  • Have a Nexplanon or IUD in place.

  • Use condoms each time and use them correctly.

  • Have had your tubes tied.

  • Have a partner who has had a vasectomy.

  • Have already gone through menopause.

Urine Sample

Do not go to the bathroom once you have arrived at the clinic. We will need to do a pregnancy test if you have not gone through menopause. We will ask you for a urine sample.

During the LEEP

During the LEEP you will undress from the waist down and lie in the same position you would for a pelvic exam. The clinician will insert a speculum. They will use medicine to numb the cervix to help prevent pain. Then they will use a wire loop to remove a thin layer of abnormal tissue from the cervix. You may feel a dull ache or cramping.

The LEEP will take about 30 minutes and you can go home when it is done. Please schedule a follow-up clinic visit in four weeks or as directed.

After LEEP Care

  • You may have brownish-black vaginal discharge (looks like coffee grounds). This is caused by medicine that we use to prevent bleeding. This may also have a metallic scent.

  • You may have vaginal discharge or spotting for up to 4 weeks.

  • You may take 3 ibuprofen tablets (200mg each) every 6 hours or 2 Aleve tablets (220mg each) every 12 hours as needed.

  • Do not use tampons, douche, or have sex for 4 weeks.

  • Do not take baths, swim in a pool, hot tub, or lake for 2 weeks.

  • You may shower.

  • You can return to your normal routine as you feel able or as directed by your clinician.

When to Call

  • Severe vaginal bleeding. This means soaking through a pad each hour for two or more hours.

  • Severe pain, that is not relieved by over-the-counter pain medicine and lasts more than a few hours.

  • Signs of infection. These include increased pain, fever above 100.4 F, and vaginal discharge that has a foul odor.

If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.