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J Fam Pract. 2000 Aug;49(8):701-6.

Healing experiences after cervical cryosurgery.

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  • 1Department of Community and Family Medicine, Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, NH 03756, USA.



Treatment for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia with cryosurgery is uncomfortable for many women. The subsequent healing process is also thought to bring discomfort. The purpose of our study was to describe women's experiences after cryosurgery, and how obesity, age, and gravidity affected, the healing process.


We developed a survey from focus group results to measure the unpleasantness of hydrorrhea (watery discharge) from cryosurgery, the pad protection required, and the odor associated with the hydrorrhea. The cryosurgical experiences were compared with normal menses for the use and frequency of pad protection, medications used, and any activity restrictions.


Cryosurgical experiences were unpleasant for 78.3% of the women because of the pain and cramping of the procedure and the resulting hydrorrhea, odor, and necessity of wearing pads for protection. These experiences after cryosurgery caused 38.6% to restrict their activities and 67.1% to take medications, a significantly greater proportion than the 16.9% whose activities were restricted normal menses and the 26.8% who took medications for normal menses (P=-.004, P <.001, respectively). In addition to these experiences, obese, multigravid, and older women were more bothered by the duration of wearing pads than their counterparts (P=.0246, =.0061, and P=.0159, respectively).


Our study showed that the cryosurgical healing process was not pleasant, and was least tolerable for obese, multigravid, and older women. As many as 50% of women undergoing cryosurgery will perceive the hydrorrhea, its odor, and the wearing of pads to be worse than normal menses, especially if their menses are usually light.

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