How Soon Can You Have Sex After a LEEP Procedure?

The average time to wait before having sex after a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) is about four to six weeks. Depending on how much of your cervical tissue is removed, you may need to wait a longer or shorter time before having sex. Generally speaking, the more abnormal the cervical tissue, the more time it will take the cervix to fully heal.

avoiding infection after LEEP procedure
Verywell / Emily Roberts

What Is LEEP?

LEEP is a procedure that's done to scrape abnormal cells from the surface tissue of your cervix.

LEEP is often used as a method for obtaining specimens of your cervical tissue so they can be examined to determine if you have cancer or cervical dysplasia, a condition that can lead to cancer. If this type of cancer or precancer tissue is found, it can be removed with LEEP. The procedure is typically done after less invasive procedures, including Pap testing or colposcopy.

If abnormal tissue is found during Pap testing or colposcopy, LEEP may be done to examine and treat the abnormal cell growth. Colposcopy is a noninvasive procedure using a microscope-like device to view your cervix.

Sex and Risks After LEEP

Having sex before your cervix has healed completely after LEEP would increase your risk of infection.

In addition to not having sex or vaginal penetration, other precautions include:

  • Do not take tub baths for a specified length of time (usually about three days after LEEP). You can take showers.
  • Do not use whirlpools or Jacuzzis. 
  • Use sanitary napkins (pads) instead of tampons.

Call or see your healthcare provider to find out how long you should wait to resume sexual activity. 

You should also call your healthcare provider if any of the following occurs during your recovery:

  • Abnormally heavy bleeding (heavier than your menstrual flow)
  • Bleeding with clots
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Fever over 100.4 F
  • Abdominal pain.

Even if you feel fine and believe your cervix is fully healed, you should follow your healthcare provider's guidance about when it will be safe for you to start having sex again.

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Potential Obstetric Risks

Most people have mild or no complications after LEEP. However, the removal of cervical tissue in LEEP can weaken your cervix, and this can cause pregnancy complications.

In general, LEEP is also associated with difficulty getting pregnant, as well as increased risk of pre-term birth and/or low-birth-weight of the baby. These risks decline one year after the procedure.

  • One study has shown that among people who have previously had LEEP procedures, miscarriages were reported at a rate of about 18% in pregnancies that occurred less than 12 months after the procedure.
  • In another study, people with previous LEEP procedures had a 7.2% rate of preterm deliveries, whereas the control population had a 4.6% rate of preterm deliveries.
  • The risk of preterm delivery increased in people who have had repeat LEEP procedures; therefore, it is advisable to avoid having repeat LEEPs, especially during reproductive years.
  • In pregnancies that occurred 12 months or later after having LEEP, no significant difference emerged in the rates of miscarriages in people who had the procedure.

Other Side Effects of LEEP

Some women have reported discomfort during sex after a LEEP procedure, including vaginal pain, dryness, and a feeling of painful pressure on the cervix.

  • The vaginal pain and cervical pressure may be due to narrowing of your cervix after the procedure; this should improve with time as you continue having sex.
  • The dryness often goes away with time. In the meantime, vaginal lubricants can help. Make sure that your healthcare provider says that it's safe to use these products before you use them.

Foreplay and heightened sexual arousal may aid naturally occurring vaginal lubrication and help relieve discomfort.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How soon can I get pregnant after having a LEEP?

    Doctors usually recommend that you wait six months after a LEEP procedure before you try to conceive. You should have a clean bill of health from your OBGYN first, though, to be sure the abnormal cells are gone.

  • Does having a LEEP affect your ability to have an orgasm?

    There is some research showing that women who have had a LEEP procedure lose some ability to orgasm and have less sexual satisfaction. However, more research is needed to understand how or why this happens and how it can be treated. 

  • How much do you usually bleed after a LEEP?

    Within a day or two after the procedure, you’ll notice some brownish discharge. This may be a combination of the solution used during the LEEP and blood. You may continue to have bloody discharge for about four days. Bleeding can come back and continue as you heal over the next two weeks. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice blood clots or bleeding that is so heavy you have to change your pad every hour or two.

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6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP).

  2. Ciavattini A, Clemente N, Delli Carpini G, et al. Loop electrosurgical excision procedure and risk of miscarriage. Fertil Steril. 2015;103(4):1043-8. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2014.12.112

  3. Heinonen A, Gissler M, Riska A, Paavonen J, Tapper AM, Jakobsson M. Loop electrosurgical excision procedure and the risk for preterm delivery. Obstet Gynecol. 2013;121(5):1063-8. doi:10.1097/AOG.0b013e31828caa31

  4. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Fertility and Pregnancy After a LEEP.

  5. Cendejas BR, Smith-McCune KK, Khan MJ. Does treatment for cervical and vulvar dysplasia impact women’s sexual health? American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2015;212(3):291-297. doi:10.1016%2Fj.ajog.2014.05.039

  6. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. About Your Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP).