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BLOG » Sex After LEEP: How to Heal Your Body and Get Back to What You Love
A LEEP procedure, while considered safe, can sometimes be a harmful experience. You may feel like you're not the same person you were before the procedure especially if you experience sexual dysfunction. With time and specialized self partnership practices you can get back to your old self again. And if you're wondering, yes, you can have an amazing sex life after a LEEP! Until that point, anxiety about your future can be very overwhelming.
Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

Sex After LEEP: How to Heal Your Body and Get Back to What You Love

July 20, 2022

I remember the moment when I found out that I had cellular changes (cervical dysplasia) on my cervix and that I had tested positive for HPV. My mind started wandering to thoughts of cancer and chemo and losing my hair and leaving my kids without a mom. Most of us (if not all) have known someone that has fought a battle against cancer so of course it's natural that our mind will go there immediately.

It's also not a surprise that our doctors go there, too. The 5-year survival rate of cervical cancer is 66%.1 That's not as bad as it could be, but it's also not great.

As a doctor, their primary concern is to keep you alive. Luckily, when it comes to cervical cancer you can actually catch it early and drastically increase your survival rate. That's where pap smears and LEEP, or sometimes called LLETZ, procedures come in. But there are risks that most doctors aren't aware of.

What is a LEEP procedure and what are the discussed risks associated with it ?

It's a way to remove abnormal tissue from the cervix. An electrified wire is used to scrape off the effected cells and then the tissue is cauterized (burned) to stop the bleeding.

LEEP = Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure

LLETZ = Large Loop Excision of the Transformation Zone

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:LEEP.png

What are the risks associated with a LEEP?

Standard risks from any kind of surgery

As with any surgery, there is a possibility of an infection or bleeding as well as build up of scar tissue. These are the risks that most doctors discuss with their patients.

Cervical Tissue Damage leading to Pregnancy Complications

One particular area of concern is the depth to which surgeons remove cells. Based on the findings of research studies, much of the commercially available equipment go in much deeper than what is necessary.2 This means the surgeon would take more cells than necessary and it could cause more damage to the cervix, which can lead to cervical insufficiency or an incompetent cervix. This means that the cervix is unable to stay closed during pregnancy and can result in a miscarriage.

Sexual Dysfunction

What most doctors don't disclose (because most of them aren't aware of) is that a LEEP procedure can cause sexual dysfunction. Currently there are no standards or oversight on how deeply to go when removing cervical cells which is why the equipment that is available goes much deeper than necessary.

The cervix has 3 pairs of nerves (hypogastric, pelvic, and vagus)3 which makes it one of the most highly innervated organs in the body. Sadly, many doctors are not aware of this because for many years this information was not in the OB/GYN text books. Yes, you read that right. The obstetrics and gynecology books did not include the full innervation of the cervix and some still do not.

Nerve damage is serious. Nerve damage causes problems.

In addition, a 1960 study incorrectly stated that there was not much sensation in the cervix and this has been perpetuated through the medical community for years. Even though the innervation of the cervix has been well documented, doctors often tell their patients that the procedure is painless and harmless thus completely ignoring the neurobiology of a female.

This leads to many people opting to get the procedure without hesitation because let's face it... being alive is better than not. But many are left with a severely altered life experience and they are unable to enjoy sex.

Is your sexual dysfunction related to the LEEP procedure?

Many people experience sexual dysfunction after a LEEP procedure and most doctors ignore it, disregard it, and flat out don't believe the patient. This means that they are not reporting it which also means that doctors still don't realize how big the problem is.

Some of the sexual side-effects after a LEEP procedure are:

  • Insufficient lubrication
  • Inability to orgasm or reduced orgasm intensity (anorgasmia)
  • Unexplained anxiety or depression
  • Pain during sex
  • Immediate change in hormones (which most doctors brush off as age related)
  • Loss of libido
  • Fear of intimacy

In my experience as an orgasm coach since 2018, I have learned that many of my patients that come to me with "unexplained" orgasm issues often had a LEEP procedure immediately prior to the onset of symptoms. The way it presents is different but here are the common problems I have seen from my clients that have had a LEEP procedure.

  • Orgasms take longer
  • It's been a long time since they had an orgasm through penetration
  • Stuck in their head and unable to get to the point of release
  • Get close to orgasm and then "lose it"
  • Can orgasm by themselves but not with their partner any more

So, what do you do now? You're probably feeling a lot of emotions: scared, overwhelmed, sad, and maybe even angry. It's natural to feel all these things after learning that you had a procedure that you thought was totally safe. But don't worry! There are steps you can take to improve your sex life. In fact, I've had clients of mine have a sex life that is even better than before because the steps you take to re-engage your sex drive and heal your cervix are steps that help anyone have a better sex life.

The 4 Areas to focus on to heal after a LEEP

  1. Physical - Your cervix experienced trauma and that causes a massive amount of stress on your body. While we all know we need to eat right, exercise more, sleep better, and get some sun, it's more important than ever that you do these things. Your body needs the proper nutrients and elements to be able to heal at a cellular level. There really is no getting around this. Your cells need what they need to function properly so your body can do what it was designed to do, which is to keep you healthy and living at your optimum levels.
  2. Mental - If you're anxious or depressed you will need to work on a neuro reprogramming level in order to change your thoughts. Anxiety and depression cause stress in your body which means that your body has to work extra hard to heal. There are proven techniques that can help you change the way you respond to stressful thoughts. I wrote about how to do it in my book "Get Unstuckable" but I also help all my clients discover strategies that work for them so then can reprogram their thoughts when I work with them one on one or in my group programs. I'm not the only one that knows how to do this and there are many, many people, courses, and programs that can help you. I encourage you to find someone that you feel comfortable with and work with them. You will never regret learning how to go through life with ease.
  3. Emotional - Emotions are stored in the body they are not in your mind. You will need to work at the level of the body if you want to release the emotions that you have been storing that are related to the LEEP procedure. I highly suggest finding a sexological bodyworker or a trained physical floor specialist so they can help you discover the areas that need help. I realize not everyone has that option (depending on where you live it may be nearly impossible to find someone near you) so I do help my clients develop a self yoni dearmouring practice. (Yoni means womb in Sanskrit.) This is a practice that you can do at home on your own to help release the emotions and trauma from your body.
  4. Spiritual - Whatever your religious beliefs are, there is a part of us that is able to observe ourselves and can take an objective view and authentic action that is not driven by our fears and anxiety. It's important that you reconnect to this inner wisdom that is inside of you. For people that have spent a lifetime of looking out for others and putting the needs of others first, this is often very difficult to do. But your inner guidance system is just waiting for you to allow it to help you. Journaling is an easy way to start learning how to get in touch with your inner voice and it's why it is a part of the Simple Self Love emails.

A holistic approach in community is the best way to heal after LEEP

When you work on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual at the same time, you will heal from trauma. You can focus on just one area but all areas of ourselves are connected. At some point, you will need to address all four areas to release the trauma that is stored in your body.

As you start working on the 4 areas of self, your subconscious mind will try to keep you from doing things that are uncertain. This process is biological and is driven by the fight and flight stress response.

The first part of the stress response cycle is the Social Engagement System.4 It's an ingenious part of our biology that has us look for help when we get stressed. This is why community is an important part of the trauma healing process.

When you are in a supportive community you will feel safe. It is only when you feel safe that your body can truly heal and release the trauma stored in your body.

When you learn how to connect to your inner wisdom, allow yourself to experience the emotions in your body, and are compassionate and understanding in your mind, you will release the trauma in your cervix. Pain subsides, you are less anxious, you stop worrying about whether or not your body will heal because you learn to trust your body. Your body will feel safe to experience pleasure again. You will be able to connect deeply with a partner in a way that you may have never been able to before.

To heal after a LEEP, I suggest the following:

  • Work with a trauma-informed therapist or coach to work on reprogramming your thoughts
  • Journal to connect with your inner wisdom
  • Do self care practices that help you feel good and nourish your body
  • Connect with other women that have gone through a similar experience

If you are not sure where to go to do all of these things, I'm inviting you to check out my "Quantum Sexuality" program where I guide women through the process of taking ownership of their pleasure by creating practices of self partnership to support and provide safety to allow healing.

Wendy is a trauma-informed orgasm coach that specializes in helping women take ownership of their sexual pleasure through simple practices that are backed up by neuroscience and physiology.

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