Q&yourA: LEEP procedure for pre-cancerous cells of the cervix

I got an email from someone who wishes to remain anonymous. She's in her early 30s and doesn't have any children yet but is hoping to have some in the next few years. Her doctor has discovered precancerous cells on her cervix and has scheduled her for the LEEP procedure to remove the precancerous tissue. She's afraid that this will hurt her cervix and affect her ability to carry a pregnancy.

Can anyone share experience either with precancerous cervix diagnosis, the LEEP procedure, or fertility issues after a LEEP procedure? And, of course, with dealing with having precancerous cells inside her body?

77 thoughts on “Q&yourA: LEEP procedure for pre-cancerous cells of the cervix”

  1. Unfortunately, I don’t have experience or advice to share regarding the LEEP procedure or fertility. But I do know what it’s like to have precancerous cells in my body – I have a strong family history of melanoma, and so far my dermatologist has removed three separate sites that were precancerous (2 requiring stitches – one was a fairly big incision and required 6 stitches). It feels like my body is a time bomb, and like I have to be so vigilant. Every biopsy is scary, and I’m pretty tired of getting chunks of my body gouged out. But, as they say, it’s better than the alternative.Good luck, OP! I hope you get some good advice here.

  2. I’m so sorry that she has to deal with this.I have a cautionary tale but I want to emphasize that is is VERY anecdotal. A relative of mine had the LEEP procedure done. About oh, 8 years later she had a pregnancy and went into very pre-term labour (24 weeks). Serious hospital bedrest and massive drugs did work and she delivered a healthy not-too-preemie at 34 weeks but it was an ordeal. However, we have no idea if the two are linked. And her child is perfect. And she is cancer-free as far as she knows.
    I work with someone who fought cervical cancer and truly, it’s really really good to have caught it now.
    There isn’t a good alternative I don’t think, so dear LW, I hope you have the procedure, never develop any further cancer, and have the kids you want someday.

  3. I had pre-cancerous cells on my cervix at the age of 22. I don’t remember what “stage” they were (I’m now 40). I had a LEEP procedure to remove them, and then the regular follow-up of paps every 6 months for 2 yrs after that, and paps every year [religiously] since. There were no new occurrences of the pre-cancerous cells. I got pregnant at 30 and gave birth [via c-section, but no connection]. Got pregnant again at 34 and gave birth via vbac.Good Luck!

  4. I had a LEEP procedure at age 22, and the OB who performed it told me it would not affect my future childbearing. During my first pregnancy (four years later), my midwife became concerned because her consulting OB told her there is a high risk (mainly of preterm dilation) involved, and she asked to do weekly cervix checks. I agreed, but did more research. Not only did she find no cause for concern during the checks, but my research led me to believe that the chances of complications are actually quite low. It’s been about five years so I can’t remember the details of my findings, but I can tell you I’ve had two full-term pregnancies with no cervical problems. In fact, in both labors I was SLOW to dilate (first labor was very long, second labor was shorter and I dilated all at once at the end). I’ve also had no recurrence of precancerous cells and am inclined to think that OB-GYNs tend to be hyper-vigilant (which is mostly good!) and that most of the precancerous cells are more like suspicious cells.

  5. I had a similar procedure, the cryosurgery instead of LEEP (uses liquid nitrogen instead of electrical current) about 10 years before I got pregnant. After the procedure I had pap smears every 6 months for a year then yearly and always had normal ones so I didn’t worry about the precancerous cells since I felt that with getting the pap smears I was vigilant. I didn’t have any issues carrying my pregnancy to term but my cervix was pretty sensitive and I did have some bleeding a few days before my due date which was from my cervix and made my doctor decide to induce me. I did have an abnormal pap at my 6 week postpartum checkup and my doctor said that can sometimes happen because of childbirth but every one I’ve had since then has been normal.

  6. I can give you almost direct experience of this: my now-wife had this procedure (called LLETZ – large loop excision of the transformation zone – in the UK) about 4 years ago, aged 28. She is currently at 31 weeks pregnant, and recently had an examination which confirmed everything is OK.The worry is that you will get scarring around the opening of the cervix which could cause one of two things:
    1. the muscle may not be strong enough leading to an incompetent cervix and risk of miscarriage or pre-term birth.
    2. there may be pain or damage to the cervix during birth.
    Thankfully my wife does not have any scarring, but the consultant we saw was annoyed that the midwife didn’t refer it until this late in the pregnancy.

  7. I can give you almost direct experience of this: my now-wife had this procedure (called LLETZ – large loop excision of the transformation zone – in the UK) about 4 years ago, aged 28. She is currently at 31 weeks pregnant, and recently had an examination which confirmed everything is OK.The worry is that you will get scarring around the opening of the cervix which could cause one of two things:
    1. the muscle may not be strong enough leading to an incompetent cervix and risk of miscarriage or pre-term birth.
    2. there may be pain or damage to the cervix during birth.
    Thankfully my wife does not have any scarring, but the consultant we saw was annoyed that the midwife didn’t refer it until this late in the pregnancy.

  8. I can give you almost direct experience of this: my now-wife had this procedure (called LLETZ – large loop excision of the transformation zone – in the UK) about 4 years ago, aged 28. She is currently at 31 weeks pregnant, and recently had an examination which confirmed everything is OK.The worry is that you will get scarring around the opening of the cervix which could cause one of two things:
    1. the muscle may not be strong enough leading to an incompetent cervix and risk of miscarriage or pre-term birth.
    2. there may be pain or damage to the cervix during birth.
    Thankfully my wife does not have any scarring, but the consultant we saw was annoyed that the midwife didn’t refer it until this late in the pregnancy.

  9. I can give you almost direct experience of this: my now-wife had this procedure (called LLETZ – large loop excision of the transformation zone – in the UK) about 4 years ago, aged 28. She is currently at 31 weeks pregnant, and recently had an examination which confirmed everything is OK.The worry is that you will get scarring around the opening of the cervix which could cause one of two things:
    1. the muscle may not be strong enough leading to an incompetent cervix and risk of miscarriage or pre-term birth.
    2. there may be pain or damage to the cervix during birth.
    Thankfully my wife does not have any scarring, but the consultant we saw was annoyed that the midwife didn’t refer it until this late in the pregnancy.

  10. I can give you almost direct experience of this: my now-wife had this procedure (called LLETZ – large loop excision of the transformation zone – in the UK) about 4 years ago, aged 28. She is currently at 31 weeks pregnant, and recently had an examination which confirmed everything is OK.The worry is that you will get scarring around the opening of the cervix which could cause one of two things:
    1. the muscle may not be strong enough leading to an incompetent cervix and risk of miscarriage or pre-term birth.
    2. there may be pain or damage to the cervix during birth.
    Thankfully my wife does not have any scarring, but the consultant we saw was annoyed that the midwife didn’t refer it until this late in the pregnancy.

  11. I can give you almost direct experience of this: my now-wife had this procedure (called LLETZ – large loop excision of the transformation zone – in the UK) about 4 years ago, aged 28. She is currently at 31 weeks pregnant, and recently had an examination which confirmed everything is OK.The worry is that you will get scarring around the opening of the cervix which could cause one of two things:
    1. the muscle may not be strong enough leading to an incompetent cervix and risk of miscarriage or pre-term birth.
    2. there may be pain or damage to the cervix during birth.
    Thankfully my wife does not have any scarring, but the consultant we saw was annoyed that the midwife didn’t refer it until this late in the pregnancy.

  12. I can give you almost direct experience of this: my now-wife had this procedure (called LLETZ – large loop excision of the transformation zone – in the UK) about 4 years ago, aged 28. She is currently at 31 weeks pregnant, and recently had an examination which confirmed everything is OK.The worry is that you will get scarring around the opening of the cervix which could cause one of two things:
    1. the muscle may not be strong enough leading to an incompetent cervix and risk of miscarriage or pre-term birth.
    2. there may be pain or damage to the cervix during birth.
    Thankfully my wife does not have any scarring, but the consultant we saw was annoyed that the midwife didn’t refer it until this late in the pregnancy.

  13. I can give you almost direct experience of this: my now-wife had this procedure (called LLETZ – large loop excision of the transformation zone – in the UK) about 4 years ago, aged 28. She is currently at 31 weeks pregnant, and recently had an examination which confirmed everything is OK.The worry is that you will get scarring around the opening of the cervix which could cause one of two things:
    1. the muscle may not be strong enough leading to an incompetent cervix and risk of miscarriage or pre-term birth.
    2. there may be pain or damage to the cervix during birth.
    Thankfully my wife does not have any scarring, but the consultant we saw was annoyed that the midwife didn’t refer it until this late in the pregnancy.

  14. I can give you almost direct experience of this: my now-wife had this procedure (called LLETZ – large loop excision of the transformation zone – in the UK) about 4 years ago, aged 28. She is currently at 31 weeks pregnant, and recently had an examination which confirmed everything is OK.The worry is that you will get scarring around the opening of the cervix which could cause one of two things:
    1. the muscle may not be strong enough leading to an incompetent cervix and risk of miscarriage or pre-term birth.
    2. there may be pain or damage to the cervix during birth.
    Thankfully my wife does not have any scarring, but the consultant we saw was annoyed that the midwife didn’t refer it until this late in the pregnancy.

  15. I can give you almost direct experience of this: my now-wife had this procedure (called LLETZ – large loop excision of the transformation zone – in the UK) about 4 years ago, aged 28. She is currently at 31 weeks pregnant, and recently had an examination which confirmed everything is OK.The worry is that you will get scarring around the opening of the cervix which could cause one of two things:
    1. the muscle may not be strong enough leading to an incompetent cervix and risk of miscarriage or pre-term birth.
    2. there may be pain or damage to the cervix during birth.
    Thankfully my wife does not have any scarring, but the consultant we saw was annoyed that the midwife didn’t refer it until this late in the pregnancy.

  16. I can give you almost direct experience of this: my now-wife had this procedure (called LLETZ – large loop excision of the transformation zone – in the UK) about 4 years ago, aged 28. She is currently at 31 weeks pregnant, and recently had an examination which confirmed everything is OK.The worry is that you will get scarring around the opening of the cervix which could cause one of two things:
    1. the muscle may not be strong enough leading to an incompetent cervix and risk of miscarriage or pre-term birth.
    2. there may be pain or damage to the cervix during birth.
    Thankfully my wife does not have any scarring, but the consultant we saw was annoyed that the midwife didn’t refer it until this late in the pregnancy.

  17. I can give you almost direct experience of this: my now-wife had this procedure (called LLETZ – large loop excision of the transformation zone – in the UK) about 4 years ago, aged 28. She is currently at 31 weeks pregnant, and recently had an examination which confirmed everything is OK.The worry is that you will get scarring around the opening of the cervix which could cause one of two things:
    1. the muscle may not be strong enough leading to an incompetent cervix and risk of miscarriage or pre-term birth.
    2. there may be pain or damage to the cervix during birth.
    Thankfully my wife does not have any scarring, but the consultant we saw was annoyed that the midwife didn’t refer it until this late in the pregnancy.

  18. I can give you almost direct experience of this: my now-wife had this procedure (called LLETZ – large loop excision of the transformation zone – in the UK) about 4 years ago, aged 28. She is currently at 31 weeks pregnant, and recently had an examination which confirmed everything is OK.The worry is that you will get scarring around the opening of the cervix which could cause one of two things:
    1. the muscle may not be strong enough leading to an incompetent cervix and risk of miscarriage or pre-term birth.
    2. there may be pain or damage to the cervix during birth.
    Thankfully my wife does not have any scarring, but the consultant we saw was annoyed that the midwife didn’t refer it until this late in the pregnancy.

  19. I had a similar procedure when I was in my 20s and went on to have a healthy pregnancy 10 years later. It’s a very common treatment. I hope you have a speedy recovery!

  20. I had precancerous cells removed from my cervix via laser (which I think is different from LEEP) and had no problems at all with my cervix during delivery.Well, except that my ginormous baby wouldn’t fit through it and I had to have a c-section. But she was overdue and was just barely under 10 lbs. Had nothing to do with my earlier procedure.

  21. I don’t have personal experience, but a friend of mine did have cervical cancer in her mid-20s, and went on to have 4 children with little trouble. I wish you the best of luck with everything.

  22. No personal experience, but a good friend had the LEEP procedure in her 20s and went on to have 3 kids. She did have an incompetent cervix and all 3 kids were a bit early and required a few weeks of bedrest to keep them cooking. All of them are healthy and happy, though, born around 34 weeks.

  23. We discovered my CIN 2 dysplasia when I was exactly 3 weeks pregnant. (My sister had had a LEEP in spring, prompting the other women in my family to get testing) The initial biopsy and 2 separate coloposcopies were performed while pregnant. The LEEP was performed at 6mths postpartum.I became pregnant with my second son 3 years later and had a wonderfully normal pregnancy and home birth.
    I’m also a doula, so this kind of stuff is in my professional area of interest.
    A LEEP does not remove a lot of tissue from the cervix. We are really talking about a few millimetres depth of tissue that is burnt off. Since this is the case, there is absolutely no reason to worry about the cervix’s ability to remain closed throughout pregnancy (it is generally 1-2 inches long and quite firm in it’s non birthing state). Nor is there is any reason for this very small removal of cells to alter the physiological mechanisms of labour (the cervix moving from posterior to anterior, the cervix softening/ripening or the cervix dilating/opening).
    With one very small exception.
    Due to minor scarring on the cervix, sometimes the cervix can move forward and soften but then takes a little while to start dilating steadily. This can sometimes be the reason for long early labours. If this happens, or as a preventative when being assessed in early labour, the cervix scars can be manually broken up during a vaginal exam by your caregiver. The caregiver would insert two finger tips into the cervix and scissor them open with some force to ensure the cervical tissue will stretch and break the bonds of the scars.
    The only drawbacks to this are discomfort for the mother. It can be painful to have such a “vigorous” exam. Expect some bleeding afterward (the cervix is very juicy normally, with blood, but even more so in pregnancy and birth). Also, expect the labour to move fast after breaking up the scar tissue. Most mothers who are having active births without epidural medication find that the cervix will dilate very efficiently after this.
    Talk to your OB (or better yet, midwife) about this. A little research will turn up info that will be helpful to them. Pitocin is not recommended as a first step to dilate cervix that have scar tissue – manual stretching and remaining active and upright are far more effective to have a shorter, safer labour.
    I hope this info has been helpful!

  24. I had cryosurgery as well; I don’t think LEEP was widely available at the time. Since then I’ve had 18 years of clean Pap smears. I had some unrelated fertility issues (one has to ovulate to get pregnant!), but had two uneventful pregnancies and easy full-term deliveries for both my babies.

  25. I am so sorry the question asker is going through this, and I hope she will benefit from the anecdotal reassurance I can offer. I had the LEEP procedure done five years ago. My cells were at the final precancerous stage before becoming cancerous. (Not incidentally, emerging research suggests that practitioners should not use the LEEP for lower-level hyperplasia: apparently, the body can often clear these cells away without the aid of any procedure at all).Anyway, when I fell pregnant (a year and a half ago), I was very worried that the scarring from the LEEP would result in an incompetent cervix or would limit my ability to have a vaginal birth. It did neither. My midwife monitored my cervix (with periodic ultrasounds and/or manual exams) throughout the pregnancy, and I had no problems with dilation during labor and delivery. Good luck to the question-asker! It can be a frightening experience, but it is also very common. Consider sharing your fears with your OB and asking how s/he monitors pregnant, post-LEEP patients.

  26. My friend had a totally problem-free pregnancy right after she had the pre-cancerous cells scraped. And actually, the doctor told her that if she gave birth vaginally (which she did) that would flush out some of the cells as well. It seems weird to have your kid born with pre-cancerous cells all over her head, but I guess that’s the story.

  27. I had the LEEP procedure almost 10 yrs ago.From what I remember at the time, the placement of the cells removed (and how large the dysplasia being removed was) determined if there was any effect on future pregnancies.I had a pretty good sized chunk removed from the edge. I had my first child 18 months ago with absolutely no problems with incompetent cervix. Worked up until the day I was induced at full term.

  28. I had the LEEP in my early 20s. About 10 years later, I successfully carried my pregnancy to term with no problems with my cervix.Good luck!

  29. I didn’t have to have the LEEP procedure, but I had to go for biopsies and close monitoring for 2 years when I was about 32, after some wonky PAP results. I did ask the doctor every, single time if those rogue cells would affect my ability to have children, and he assured me–every time–that it did not.

  30. I also had the LEEP procedure pre-kids. I’ve since had all normal paps and delivered two kids full-term with six hours of labor with my first and three with my second. Number three has a couple months left to cook but I’m not anticipating any problems come delivery time.Good luck!

  31. Had the LEEP procedure at 33, had one baby at 35, another at 36, and I’m pregnant again at 39…all natural, full-term labors and no fertility issues.Sorry you’re having to go through this experience, OP. Good luck!

  32. I had the LEEP procedure done in June of last year after several “irregular” paps which seemed to come and go over the years. I found out I needed to have the procedure done during the same appointment I had scheduled to discuss starting a family. I too was concerned about the ability to become and maintain a pregnancy. My doctor scheduled my follow-up appointment 3 months after my procedure; this follow-up became my first prenatal visit. I was pregnant! I conceived roughly 6 weeks after the LEEP and went on to have a very normal, healthy pregnancy. 14 hour labor, slow dilation, vaginal birth.

  33. I hesitate to post. It’s not a good story, but I couldn’t say there was a connection. Procedure for precancerous cells years ago. A total of 6 pregnancies, but have never been able to carry successfully. Last pregnancy resulted in twins that were born a little over 23 weeks gestation, pregnancy before that was lost at just over 22 weeks. 2 other babies lost in the second tri, and the other 2 were both first tri losses (so more ‘typical’ of when miscarriages are more likely to happen to anyone, regardless of history). I’ve been told over and over again there was no connection, however the cause of my losses is unknown. I’m sorry not to have a happy story, and again I’ve got no proof there is a connection, but I wonder….

  34. I had pre-cancerous cells at age 21 or 22 and went on to have a colposcopy and LEEP. Then I had “thin-prep” paps every 6 months for 2 yrs (they were new at the time), and have had paps every year since. There have been no new occurrences of the pre-cancerous cells and I just got the green light to have paps every 2 years from now on.I got pregnant at 28 and had a completely easy, full-term pregnancy and natural birth. Had one miscarriage at age 31 and another normal full-term pregnancy and natural birth at 32.
    The only thing (and I don’t think that this has anything to do with the LEEP – but maybe?) is that both labors had to be induced via amniotomy. I was 6-7cm dilated for 10-12 DAYS past my due date and nothing would happen. Both times, once they broke my water I had fast, intense 3 hour labors with no other intervention.
    It’s scary and I’m sorry she has to go through this experience because it’s not fun.

  35. I had precancerous cells about 12 years ago and had a cryo procedure rather than a LEEP. My daughter (first pregnancy) was born at 35 weeks after my water broke without warning and for no apparent reason. When I got pregnant again, I did some research about the effect of cervical surgery on duration of pregnancy, and there is no known correlation/causation for the cryo procedure. A LEEP does increase the risk of pre-term labor slightly. The Mayo Clinic website has some good, non-alarmist info on the topic that I’d suggest you check out. Anyway, I’m 38 weeks along with my current pregnancy and, other than the calendar, have no reason to believe this baby is coming anytime soon.Oh — and I had the recommended follow up pap tests following surgery and have never had a recurrence of atypical cells.

  36. Yet another person who had a LEEP then had a successful pregnancy; I had the LEEP when I was 28 and carried twins to term when I was 34. I’ve since had a couple of more abnormal paps, but all have resolved on their own. At this point, I’ve had so many paps that I feel like I could do the test myself!The LEEP itself is a simple procedure. I hope it goes very well.

  37. I had the cryo procedure for precancerous cells 5 years before TTC. I had no problems with my cervix during pregnancy. It did take FOREVER for me to dilate but that wasn’t problematic, just frustrating because I was so ready to meet my baby (and get out of that hospital bed)!

  38. I have had precancerous cells on and off since age 18. I had LEEP done at 28 and went on to have 2 successful pregnancies. I can’t say that the precancerous cells completely went away with the LEEP, because I had to have one more colposcopy afterward, but as far as pregnancies are concerned, no problems! Good luck and I hope the LEEP goes well for you.

  39. I was diagnosed with precancerous cells at 23 and decided against having the LEEP. Instead I was checked out every 6 months for 3 years and the cells just went away on their own. Since then I’ve had normal paps and have had 2 normal pregnancies, both full term.It’s really scary to hear those words and to be faced with a possibility of developing cancer. I know it’s difficult but try not to focus on it. Continue your daily routine, indulge in what you love and just keep on keeping on. Good luck.

  40. OP should discuss this with her doctor.This poster is disgusted that the doctor didn’t proactively address these issues with her; either to explain the risk, or to let her know there was none.
    In the literature, a 2008 review article states that: “The risk of serious obstetric morbidity associated with large loop excision of the transformation zone was not significantly different from unity, though we cannot exclude the possibility of any increased risk. Loop excisions that remove large amounts of cervical tissue probably have the same effect as knife cone biopsies.”
    Arbyn M, Kyrgiou M, Simoens C, Raifu AO, Koliopoulos G, Martin-Hirsch P, Prendiville W, Paraskevaidis E. Perinatal mortality and other severe adverse pregnancy outcomes associated with treatment of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia: meta-analysis. BMJ. 2008 Sep 18;337:a1284. doi: 10.1136/bmj.a1284. Review. PubMed PMID: 18801868; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2544379.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2544379/?tool=pubmed
    The article did say: “The commonly used loop excision is associated with mild but not with severe obstetric morbidity”
    IANAD. Talk to your doctor!

  41. Didn’t read any of the other comments but will share my experience. I had a LEEP (odd cells due to HPV) in my late 20s early 30s. Every PAP smear since has been normal.Decided to have a kid when I was 35 and lucky enough to get pregnant right away. Carried to term. No problem with my cervix which healed well.
    Now I’m a week from 40 and trying for #2. We’ll see how that goes.

  42. I had the laser removal when I was 21 and then on 11/1 I had a LEEP. Both were for precancerous cells. My doctor DID say when having the LEEP that it was a good thing that I was done having babies, not that you couldn’t have babies post-LEEP but that monitoring of the cervix/scarring may be necessary. It’s definitely something to discuss with her doctor, and get a second opinion on, if her gut tells her to…

  43. This is a very common procedure and should have absolutely no side effects on future childbearing. I had it done in my early 20’s, 15 years and two girls later, no problem!!

  44. I’m also a doula and will echo what Leanne says. The only thing I know about ANY kind of cervical procedure – LEEP, D&C, Abortion, etc, is that it can cause cervical scarring. THis can, in turn, keep good dilation from occurring in the presence of effective contractions during labor. The biggest sign that this is happening is efficient effacement (thinning of the cervix, scales from 0-100%) with stalled dilation (stuck at 3cm or the like). When I’m at labors that do this, I typically ask the care provider to check for “stenosis” which is a fancy word for “scar tissue” from any previous procedure. If there is some, a good provider can do what Leanne described or massage the tissue to see if it will break up. The good news is that this sort of thing can be dealt with if you know it’s possible! Evening Primrose Oil or Borage oil both orally and vaginally at 37 weeks+ can help to soften any scar-tissue. And a patient care provider (midwife, esp.) can help a woman navigate a birth that goes this direction. And of course, a good doula. 😉

  45. I had some precancerous cells removed cryogenically (gah! Spelling!) about three years before we had our son. He was full-term and I had no issues at all.

  46. No personal experience, but anecdotally from coworkers and mothers on a pregnancy forum I belonged to…The whole point of cervical cancer screening is to catch it early and curable. The LEEP only takes off a layer of tissue. One forum mom said that during cervical checks during labor, a nurse said she could feel a little bit of scar from her LEEP. Nobody reported any prematurity related to, much less pregnancy loss. Some mothers were past their first child, too.
    A coworker had to have a more invasive procedure, colposcopy, which is where they take out a wedge of tissue. With this there is a greater likelihood of incompetent cervix, but my understanding is that a cerclage could be put in if necessary.
    Hopefully this LEEP will be all that your reader needs, though of course followups are key to avoid more treatment. All they can do is remove tissue, and you just hope they can leave you enough for all the children you want to bear.
    Regarding the feelings, I will say that it’s upsetting enough to get notice that you tested positive for the HPV strains that can cause cancer. It makes you feel distinctly unclean, even though there is no rational reason for that. The nice thing about cancer (can’t believe I typed that) is that at least it can be gotten rid of surgically or cryogenically. The virus, not so much. I seriously don’t think anybody gave enough thought to the emotional aspects of getting that letter when they started doing all of this testing on us. I know that many will just want to focus on awareness, early detection, easy treatments of slow-growing cancer…but all that is separate from our human emotions. I think it’s harder to go through these things at a younger age, before many have the life experience to process it calmly.

  47. yep, ditto what others have said. i’m a midwife. most times, no issues at all during pregnancy after leep. occasionally, you can feel scar tissue that can keep someone from dilating – it can be ‘popped’ and labor goes on normally to quickly after that. very occasionally, it does seem to contribute to what used to be called ‘incompetent cervix’ which might need a cerclage. (anecdotal – i’m not sure what the literature says.)discuss it all with your care provider, op, and i hope you can be comfortable with your decision – the risk of leaving the cells, to me, is greater than the risks of cervical damage from leep, but it’s not my decision to make.

  48. Had a LEEP for severe dysplasia about 7 years ago. 4 years after that had a successful pregnancy. I did have preterm labor, but it was because of an undiagnosed kidney infection, NOT anything to do with the LEEP. I’ve had clean paps every since, although last year was positive for HPV again (I also had the strain that causes genital warts way back in college, but haven’t had any issues with that in the past 15 years), but no abnormalities, so I’ll just have another pap sometime soon. It’s just a reminder for me to be vigilant w/ my annual exams.FWIW, virtually every close female friend I have has had a LEEP procedure….it’s crazy how widespread HPV is!

  49. I had cryosurgery and a LEEP and am now pregnant with my second child. The birth of my first was quick and easy. The procedures did not seem to bother my body at all. My maternal grandmother had cervical cancer, so I was quick to rid myself of that stuff! I’ve had normal paps ever since the LEEP 6 years ago.

  50. I had the LEEP procedure done at age 24 or so. At age 30, I had a full-term baby girl via vaginal delivery without any complications. My pap smears have been normal for the last 6 years. It’s more important, in my opinion, that you take care of the precancerous cells — you want to be around for whatever baby you have in the future. Good luck!

  51. I had the LEEP done at age 29, had my first baby at age 33 and my second at age 35 and am pregnant with my third. Both pregnancies (and this one so far) were normal. My first OB sent me for a second opinion to a high-risk OB (for other unrelated reasons as well) and they said my cervix should be fine, but if not, they would sew it shut with a drawstring type procedure (cerclage). I didn’t need it.Good luck to you. I know the news can be really scary and that will be all you can think of. I hope everything works out for you.

  52. I’m another person who had the procedure at 22, due to HPV, and had a normal pregnancy. I had to have a C-section but not cause of that. And I never had another HPV outbreak or abnormal PAP again, if you care.

  53. I had some sort of laser surgery – I don’t think it was LEEP – when I was 21. I had to go to have a pap every 6 months for 2 years. No recurrence. Everything is fine. And my cervix was fine too. I had fertility issues but nothing related to my cervix. I had babies at 37 and 40. C-sections. But only because my first was breech.

  54. Three years ago (at 30) I had the LEEP, and I was very concerned about fertility. My GYN/OB (who is FANTASTIC) herself did the surgery, saying that the LEEP was better than the laser b/c with the LEEP, they have something to send to the pathologist to determine how pre-cancerous the cells were. With the laser, the dysplasia (sp?) is just burned off & there’s nothing to analyze. My OB also said that based on WHERE the dysplasia is in the cervix, she recommends different procedures to reduce the potential for scarring. I’m currently TTC, and for the past few years with every repeat pap / exam, she’s also checked my cervix for scar tissue & done that massage thing on two occasions. I’ve had clean paps since, and no scar tissue issues. I’m looking forward to a pregnancy (hopefully) very soon

  55. My data points: Had the LEEP procedure done at age 23 after an abnormal pap. Went for follow-up paps every 6 months for a year and then every year after that — and all have been normal. Got pregnant at age 28 and had an uneventful pregnancy with an induction at one week overdue (giving birth vaginally). From about weeks 12 – 20 of the pregnancy, had ultrasounds every week to check on the cervix length — every week it was within the acceptable range and I had a lot of opportunities to see my baby! Best of luck with everything, OP.

  56. I, myself, had precancerous cells on the cervix eons ago. Back then it was treated with laser surgery. They zapped the odd cells out. Many years later (when I was 39) I had a baby. Normal delivery albeit 4 weeks early. Extreme labour pains and slow progress overall. Wasn’t dilating!! Ugh!My best friend also had the precancerous cells and had them removed by cryosurgery.
    She had a baby last year. Delivery was vaginal. VERY painful and slow progress as well.
    She was told that her cervix has scar tissue over it as a result of said procedure. That could explain why it was so hard to dilate for the both of us, but I’m not expert.

  57. It’s really scary when you’re going through it, and the fear that it will hurt your fertility is so visceral and primal. I had the exact same fears, but was lucky that it wasn’t my experience.I really hope everything goes well for the woman going through all this.
    I had precancerous cells that were removed using cryo surgery. The surgery had no impact on getting pregnant, or carrying the pregnancy to term, however, it did lead to some scar tissue that made delivery a challenge. Essentially, even with good, STRONG contractions, my cervix wouldn’t open at all. So, they opted for pitocin. I eventually did fully dilate (but ended up with a c-section for other reasons.) The good news, 2nd pregnancy and delivery there was absolutely no problem with my cervix and was able to deliver with no medical intervention at all.

  58. I didn’t have the LEEP procedure, I had what they called a freezing procedure. It was in 1980, so it was probably what they used to do before LEEP. It seems similar though…they remove precancerous cells from the cervix.I had no complications and carried twins until 38 weeks. No bed rest at all. And they had to induce at 38 weeks because I was so uncomfortable with itching all over. Not at all related to my cervix…which actually also refused to dilate and I wound up with a csection.
    Oh, and my twins were huge…7lb 4 oz and 6 lb 9 oz. That’s a lot of baby, plus two placentas, etc.

  59. Just another voice here to say I had a LEEP around age 25, and didn’t get pregnant until I was 35, and had no complications. Definitely mention it to your doctor when you do try to get pregnant and they’ll keep an eye on it.I got a couple of extra ultrasounds just to make sure everything was cool.
    It does suck, OP, so hang in there. The lovely all-woman medical practice where I got my LEEP done gave me a piece of dark chocolate at the end of the procedure, to make people feel better. I thought it was brilliant.

  60. Another person here who had the LEEP procedure and a successful pregnancy afterward. I had the same fears having had the procedure in my mid 30’s. I got pregnant at 36 and now have a beautiful almost 4 year old son. I had no bed rest, but my doctor did have me leave work a month early. No complications and a vaginal delivery.

  61. Ugh, this is not fun. Sorry about this.My story is about my friend who had this procedure done in college. She consequently got pregnant 10 or so years later. Had a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby (and no trouble getting pregnant), but her cervix ruptured after giving birth and she nearly bled to death. Thankfully they rushed her into the ER and stitched her up and she was perfectly fine and still is. However, her ob/gyn told her that they would have monitored her more closely and looked out for signs of trouble, had they known about the procedure before she gave birth.

  62. i had the LEEP prodcedure ten years ago and had my first child 7 years later (no fertility issues). i’m 37, pregnant with my second child. my daughter was born 42 weeks, and she was 9 pounds 9 ounces! i had a vaginal delivery. my delivery doctor told me that the procedure “might have been” the reason for late dilation (10 hours till 5cm, then i got the epidural). i had no problems afterwards.

  63. I had a LEEP/ conization after my 2nd child was born and 3 yrs later had a healthy baby boy full term with no problems. So far all of my pap smears have been normal since the surgery!

  64. I had the LEEP procedure done in 2005; a twin pregnancy in 2007 and I did have pre-term complications that started at 26 wks with my cervix shortening (not dilating). With medication and bedrest (and a rough road), I made it to 34 wk before my water broke. Healthy babies by C-sec. I don’t know if they were related, but my Mom had 4 pregnancies (2 being twin pregnancies) and no complications … makes me wonder. But, I don’t regret the LEEP – could turn to cancer.

  65. I had a LEEP procedure at 33. Healthy thereafter, with good pap results (every 6 months for a while, then yearly).Gave birth at 38. I was on bedrest for 2 weeks (weeks 35-37) due to super-frequent Braxton Hicks contractions – though that was probably due to too much work and not enough water the day of my checkup. Doh.
    Cervix fine throughout; I gave birth via scheduled C-section (breech baby; wouldn’t turn) at 40 weeks.

  66. Just in case she wants to consider avoiding the treatment and taking another approach, I’ll share my experience. I was diagnosed with precancerous cell growth on my cervix in the early 90s, and so were two of my friends. We were all in our early 20s and this prospect was terrifying. My friends both had surgery, one laser (the insurance company refused to pay and left her with a huge bill) and the other did the cryo route and bled for weeks afterward. (Later both had healthy pregnancies and vaginal births, no problems.) I thought my body had a pretty good chance of healing without intervention and did some research. I learned other countries (the socialized medicine ones) routinely prescribe high doses of folic acid in these situations. So that’s what I tried, for about 3 months. Normal pap smears ever since.

  67. My BFF has had the procedure done a couple of times over the years. She is fertile myrtle on her own, but they did warn her that many more experiences of this procedure might cause her to be incapable of carrying a baby to term. She’s pretty much done having kids by now, but had 2 or more of the procedures before her kids were born. But she had no problems carrying the boys at all.

  68. i wrote before, and this is a follow up.in short i had leep about 12 yrs ago, gave birth 3 years ago, delivery lasted 16 hours, 10 hours till 5 cm, at which point I got the epidural. normal pap smears since, pregnant with second.
    i asked my doctor at my 20 week visit about what happens after delivery. he said, since i gave birth once (vaginal delivery), there is nothing to worry the second time, because dilation relaxes the tissues in cervix. he added this is the case given there are no scars in tissue.

  69. I have had 3 LEEP procedures in the last 6 years to treat both CIN I and CIN II. I am currently 37 weeks pregnant. My doctor measured by cervix when I was about 12 weeks pregnant and determined that I would not suffer from an incompetent cervix. LEEPs can lead to an incompetent cervix as well as scar tissue that prevents the cervix from dilating normally during childbirth. However, it is important to remember that some women suffer from an incompetent cervix without any prior procedures.I am currently waiting for my latest biopsy results. Because of my repeated history I have a high chance of developing ‘bad’ cells from the pregnancy hormones. This is my first child and I am very grateful that I have been allowed this opportunity. Every woman and their case is different. LEEP surgeries only give me more time, while they are able to cure other women. Find a good doctor who will guide you through the process and read! There is so much information online on reliable websites.

  70. I had the leep procedure done twice, about 3 years ago. I am currently 38 weeks pregnant and have had absolutely no problems during my pregnancy. I went to the dr this morning and the dr stated that I have not began to dilate at all and this could be due to scar tissue on my cervix. I researched it some and found that cervical massaging during labor can release the scar tissue and allow the cervix to open. Then again, this may not be the case as we will not know until I actually go in labor.

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