Treatment by cryotherapy – Post-treatment advice and follow-up
- The woman should be counselled that she will have a clear or slightly bloodstained watery vaginal discharge that can persist for up to 2–4 weeks, and she will have to use sanitary towels.
- The woman should be informed of the following warning signs:
- foul-smelling, purulent discharge
- fever for more than 2 days
- severe lower abdominal pain, especially if accompanied by fever
- excessive vaginal bleeding (other than the blood loss during normal menstruation)
- bleeding with clots.
- If the woman develops any of the above-mentioned symptoms, she should attend the colposcopy centre or seek medical attention elsewhere.
- The woman should be advised not to have sexual intercourse for 4–6 weeks, or until the watery discharge disappear completely.
(Note: If the couple is unable to abstain from sexual intercourse, they should use a condom.)
- The woman should be advised regarding the follow-up schedule.
Antibiotics are not routinely prescribed after cryotherapy. Paracetamol tablets may be given for 1 or 2 days for pain.
Follow-up after cryotherapy:
- The woman may be advised to come back for a check-up after 1 month to exclude infection or other complications. No screening or speculum examination or colposcopy should be done. The biopsy report, if available, should be reviewed. In a screen-and-treat programme, this follow-up visit is often omitted.
- The next check-up should be done after 8–12 months, when the woman may have the screening test originally performed or a direct colposcopic examination.
- If there is a persistent lesion at follow-up, it is preferable to excise the lesion, although cryotherapy may be repeated if the usual criteria for cryotherapy are fulfilled.
IARC, 150 Cours Albert Thomas, 69372 Lyon CEDEX 08, France - Tel: +33 (0)4 72 73 84 85 - Fax: +33 (0)4 72 73 85 75