Cervical abnormalities: CIN3 and CGIN

Healing after a LLETZ or cone biopsy

Recovery after a LLETZ or cone biopsy is similar, though women who have had a general anaesthetic often feel tired for a few days or even a week or so afterwards.

Everyone is different. Some of the women we interviewed who had LLETZ felt fine afterwards and went to work the next day. Others felt a bit uncomfortable and had been glad to have taken someone with them who could drive or accompany them home. Doctors usually advise women to take the day off after treatment. Most feel well enough to return to work the next day but some need another day or two to recover.
The healing process can vary from person to person. The cervix should heal completely within four to six weeks, but some women make a full recovery as early as three weeks. A vaginal discharge and / or bleeding are usual for some weeks following treatment and are part of the healing process. This should stop or return to ‘normal’ as soon as the cervix is healed. However, if they persist, become heavier or have an offensive smell, then women should see their GP as it could be an infection.  
Following treatment, some of the women we talked to said they were advised about recovery and told that they could have some bleeding or discharge. Several, though, said they were given very little information about recovery and looked for more on the internet. A few said they would have liked to talk to a nurse afterwards because they were unsure about what they should or shouldn’t do.
Generally:
  • Women can have a bath or shower from the day of treatment
  • Women can return to work the next day if they feel well enough
  • Sexual intercourse is not advised for four weeks, or while the vaginal discharge continues
  • No vaginal douching until the vaginal discharge stops
  • Avoid using tampons until the vaginal discharge stops
  • Avoid strenuous exercise for two to three weeks (e.g. aerobics, running and other sports)
  • Do not swim for two weeks, or until the vaginal discharge stops
  • Limit air travel if possible
  • Avoid heavy lifting or carrying heavy objects
Most of the women we talked to said they had some bleeding after treatment and sometimes this was heavier than their normal period. Several appreciated having a telephone number they could call if they had any concerns.

Some women said they had very heavy bleeding after treatment. They were unsure how normal this was and whether they needed to see a doctor. Several said they would have liked more information about what to expect afterwards and when to seek advice (see Information’).

A few women bled extremely heavily and needed further treatment. All of them went on to recover well and have been clear of abnormal cells since.

A few women said they felt discomfort or had cramps, and took painkillers such as paracetamol. Pam felt a lot of pain and phoned her GP for advice. She said the pain eased with time. Several women had felt a bit drained or tired for a while. Interview 04 said she ate well, increased her intake of iron and got plenty of rest, and believed this helped her to recover.

More experiences of healing after treatment can be found on the Healthtalkonline - Cervical Screening site.
Last reviewed April 2012.
Last updated April 2012.

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