Comparison of Sexual Function after Thermal Ablation Versus Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) for Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN 2 and 3): A Randomized Controlled Trial

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India.

2 Department of Community and Family Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India.

3 Department of Pathology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India.


Background: The prevention of cervical cancer can be achieved by treating high-grade cervical precancerous lesions. Treatment options for cervical precancer include excisional procedures, and ablation treatments. Despite the long pre-invasive course of the disease, literature addressing sexual function post-treatment for cervical pre-invasive lesions is scarce. This study aims to bridge this gap and assess the sexual function and the acceptability, efficacy, safety, and complications of loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) versus thermal ablation. Methods: The prospective open-label randomized controlled trial recruited women aged 22-55 with histologically confirmed Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN) 2 and 3 lesions. Participants were randomly allocated to either thermal ablation or LEEP. All cases were followed up with a Pap smear at three- and six-months post treatment. Sexual health assessments were conducted using a questionnaire at baseline and 3 months post-procedure. Secondary outcome measures included comparison of acceptability, pain, and side effects between the two treatment measures. Results: Out of 1356 screened cases, 60 were included in the study and randomized in two groups. The groups had similar baseline characteristics. Duration of LEEP was longer than thermal ablation (25.33 vs. 20.67 minutes), with higher pain reported 10 minutes post-procedure in the LEEP group. Three months post-procedure, both groups showed comparable acceptability and symptom relief. Sexual function parameters significantly improved in the thermal ablation group compared to LEEP, including satisfaction, desire, lubrication, flexibility, and ability to reach climax. Conclusion: LEEP and thermal ablation are effective treatments for CIN with similar efficacy at 6 months. Thermal ablation demonstrated advantages in procedure time and post-procedural pain but exhibited varying effects on sexual function, improving satisfaction and desire. In contrast, LEEP showed a decrease in satisfaction and potential alterations in lubrication and flexibility. Larger-sample, longer-term studies are recommended for further insights.


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