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 the procedure.

Before the LEEP

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

  • Do not have sex or use a douche one day before the exam.

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

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

  • You do not need pain medicine, but 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).  

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 doctor will insert a speculum. We will use medicine to numb the cervix to help prevent pain. The doctor will then 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 should not use tampons, douche, or have sex for 4 weeks. 

  • You should not swim in a pool, hot tub or lake for 2 weeks. 

  • You may bathe or shower.

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

  • You may have some pain for a few days. Take ibuprofen (600 mg) 3 pills every 6 hours as needed. 

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. 

  • Fever above 100.4 F.

  • Signs of infection. These include increased pain, fever, 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.