Cryotherapy of the Cervix: Before Your Procedure

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Female pelvic organs

What is cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy destroys tissue in the cervix that is not normal. It is also used to treat conditions such as genital warts.

Your doctor will put a tool called a speculum into your vagina. It opens your vagina. This lets your doctor see the cervix and inside the vagina. A special fluid may be put on your cervix to make the tissue easier to see.

Your doctor will freeze the tissue with a probe that can get very cold. You may have some cramps during the treatment.

You may have mild cramps for several hours after the procedure. You should be able to go back to your normal routine right away. Use a pad if you have any bleeding. You may have some fluid release for 2 to 3 weeks.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

What happens before the procedure?

Preparing for the procedure

    Understand exactly what procedure is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell your doctors ALL the medicines, including natural health products, such as vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take. Some of these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with anesthesia.
    If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if you should stop taking these medicines before your procedure. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
    Your doctor will tell you which medicines to take or stop before your procedure. You may need to stop taking certain medicines a week or more before the procedure. So talk to your doctor as soon as you can.
    If you have an advance care plan, let your doctor know. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets your doctor and loved ones know your health care wishes. Doctors advise that everyone prepare these papers before any type of surgery or procedure.
    Tell your doctor if:
    • You are having your menstrual period. This procedure usually is not done during your period. That's because blood cells make it harder for your doctor to see your cervix.
    • You are or might be pregnant. A blood or urine test may be done to see if you are pregnant.
    • You are allergic to any medicines.
    • You have been treated for a vaginal, cervical, or pelvic infection.
    Do not douche, use tampons, have sexual intercourse, or use vaginal medicines for 24 hours before the procedure.

Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.

What happens on the day of the procedure?

  • You may eat or drink as you normally do.
  • You may want to take a pain reliever, such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), 30 to 60 minutes before you have the procedure.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your procedure. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.

At the doctor's office or clinic

  • Bring a picture ID.
    The procedure should take about 20 minutes.

Going home

  • You will be given more specific instructions about recovering from your procedure. They will cover things like diet, wound care, follow-up care, driving, and getting back to your normal routine.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your procedure.
  • You become ill before the procedure (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the procedure.

Where can you learn more?

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