Fertility and Pregnancy after a LEEP

Women considering loop electrosurgical excision (LEEP), should be concerned about their fertility and future pregnancies. Although this common procedure to remove abnormal cells from the cervical area in order to prevent cancer is very rare, it does have some risks. Dana Baras M.D., M.P.H., Gyn/Ob at Howard County General Hospital.

Are you wondering if you will have trouble starting or growing your family after having a LEEP. Baras says most women don’t have to worry about their fertility or pregnancy after having a LEEP.

Can you get pregnant after a LEEP?

After a LEEP, there is a slight risk of scar tissue (called cervical stenosis). The narrowing or closing of the cervical passageway can result in irregular periods, or even prevent sperm from reaching the uterus to fertilize an eggs. Cervical stenosis is rare, but it can happen if there’s more tissue to remove or if you have had more than one LEEP.

Your Gyn/Ob will determine the amount of tissue to be removed after performing diagnostic tests like colposcopy. This involves using a special microscope to examine the cervix under a green filter light to detect any changes. It depends on the location of the abnormal cells.

What is the best time to try to conceive after a LEEP.

Two weeks is required for recovery. For four weeks, we recommend women refrain from having sex and inserting anything in their vagina. The full recovery of the cervical cervix takes approximately six months. Patients with no evidence of cervical cancer should wait six months before they attempt to conceive.

How can you tell if the LEEP was successful?

We recommend that you see your Gyn/Ob to ensure that abnormal cells are cleared. A patient may require additional testing depending on the pathology report. This could include a repeat HPV test, endocervical curettage (a type a biopsy inside the cervix), or a hysterectomy.

Is the LEEP possible to affect pregnancy?

You will need to wait until after the birth for LEEP if your doctor finds high-grade abnormalities during pregnancy. A LEEP performed before pregnancy does not increase your chances of miscarriage. A small percentage of women with cervical stenosis may experience difficulty during labor. This condition can cause women to take longer time to dilate. However, a Gyn/Ob can help stretch the cervical cervix using a variety of methods.

Doctors used to check the length of the cervical cervix for women who had LEEP. Doctors used to check the length of the cervix in women who had undergone LEEP. This was because doctors believed that this could cause preterm birth. Recent studies have shown that cervical Dysplasia, which is an abnormal (precancerous), cell in the cervix due to HPV — along with other risk factors like smoking, are strongly associated with preterm birth.


The bottom line

LEEP is safe and effective in removing abnormal cells from your cervix. This could lead to cancer. A LEEP has rarely been associated with a decrease in fertility or pregnancy. However, it is important to discuss all concerns with your doctor.

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