Excisional Biopsy of the Cervix: What to Expect at Home

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Your Recovery

After your procedure, it is normal to feel tired for a couple days. You may have some pain or cramps in your lower belly for several days. Usually over-the-counter pain medicines, such as ibuprofen, are enough to help with the pain.

After an excisional biopsy, you will probably be able to go back to work or your normal routine in about a week. But how long it takes you to recover will depend on how much was done during the procedure.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Activity

 
  • Rest when you feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help you recover.
  • Try to walk each day. Walking boosts blood flow and helps prevent pneumonia and constipation.
  • You may shower any time after the procedure, if your doctor okays it. Ask your doctor when it is okay to take a bath.
  • You may have some light vaginal bleeding or discharge for about a week. You may also have some spotting for about 3 weeks. Wear sanitary pads if needed. Do not douche or use tampons.
  • You will probably be able to go back to your normal routine in about a week. How long it takes you to recover will depend on how much was done during the procedure. You may need to take some time off work. It depends on the type of work you do and how you feel.
  • Do not have vaginal sex or place anything in your vagina for 2 to 4 weeks after the procedure, or until your doctor tells you it is okay.

Diet

 
  • You can eat your normal diet. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (unless your doctor tells you not to).
  • You may notice that your bowel movements are not regular right after your procedure. This is common. Try to avoid constipation and straining with bowel movements. You may want to take a fiber supplement every day. If you have not had a bowel movement after a couple of days, ask your doctor about taking a mild laxative.

Medicines

 
  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. You will also be given instructions about taking any new medicines.
  • If you stopped taking aspirin or some other blood thinner, your doctor will tell you when to start taking it again.
  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If you think your pain medicine is making you sick to your stomach:
    • Take your medicine after meals (unless your doctor tells you not to).
    • Ask your doctor for a different pain medicine.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.

Other instructions

 
  • If you have cramps after your procedure, try placing a hot water bottle or heating pad on your lower belly.

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 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.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have chest pain, are short of breath, or cough up blood.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have bright red vaginal bleeding that soaks one or more pads in an hour.
  • You have vaginal discharge that has increased in amount or smells bad.
  • You are sick to your stomach or cannot drink fluids.
  • You have pain that does not get better after you take pain medicine.
  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • A fever.
  • You have signs of a blood clot in your leg (called a deep vein thrombosis), such as:
    • Pain in your calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin.
    • Redness or swelling in your leg or groin.
  • You cannot pass stools or gas.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.