A condition that is often diagnosed with a delay of several years (it takes on average 10 years for women to be diagnosed), endometriosis affects a large number of the female population. With symptoms including heavy periods, painful cramps and infertility, the condition is often misdiagnosed and there are still many misconceptions around it.
What exactly causes endometriosis remains unclear, but today there are treatments that can help women with the condition feel better. Laparoscopic surgery, in many cases, is the only treatment that actually helps, both to relieve the symptoms and to diagnose the condition itself.
Below, we have listed a series of the most frequently asked questions on endometriosis and laparoscopic surgery. If you are looking for more information on surgical treatments for endometriosis or are unsure of your diagnosis, contact us anytime. Our Gynecological Center at KCM Clinic specialises in helping women identify and treat endometriosis in a safe, highly professional, and caring environment
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition that happens when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (or “endometrium”) grows outside the uterus. The abnormal tissue can be found around the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, or the outer wall of the uterus. Inflammation occurs as a result, causing scar tissue or cysts that often lead to pain and discomfort.
Can endometriosis be cured?
Unfortunately, there is no definitive cure for endometriosis. However, there are treatments available that can help you treat or minimise your symptoms.
What treatments are available for endometriosis?
From conservative therapies to surgery, there are several treatment options that your doctor may recommend. You might need to try different treatments or a combination of more than one to understand what works in your case. Here’s an overview of the treatments used for endometriosis:
- Hormonal therapy: In order to slow down endometrial tissue growth, your doctor may prescribe hormonal medication, including birth control pills, progestin therapy, danazol treatment, or aromatase therapy. Pain associated with the condition should diminish or disappear.
- Pain medication: Analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs or narcotic/opioid analgesics are prescribed for pain management associated with endometriosis.
- Pelvic-floor therapy, massage therapy, heat therapy, acupuncture, and exercise might also help in some cases. These treatments are often combined with other therapies.
How is endometriosis treated surgically?
There are a couple of surgical options to treat endometriosis:
- Laparoscopy: a minimally-invasive surgery performed to remove scar tissue and cysts
- Laparotomy: open surgery to remove scar tissue and cysts. Today, it is only performed when the condition is severe or patients don’t qualify for laparoscopy
- Hysterectomy: a procedure that involves removing the uterus
Laparoscopy surgery for endometriosis is by far the most recent, least invasive, and preferred surgery option. Please consider that your surgery options should be discussed with your doctor carefully. It is usually preferable to try conservative treatments before undergoing surgery, and not all surgeries work for all cases.
When is it time to consider laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis?
When conservative treatments have not really helped, surgery might be the only option to help you minimise your symptoms or increase your chances of getting pregnant. Laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis is, in fact, the only surefire way for your doctor to diagnose the condition. The surgeon can then directly remove endometriosis scarring and lesions.
What is laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis?
Laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure performed to remove scar tissues or cysts caused by the condition.
The procedure can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 6 hours; the duration will depend on the amount of tissue that needs to be removed. Laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis is carried out under general anaesthesia. The surgeon will access your lower abdomen by making a few small incisions in your belly. Then, the tissue will be removed using special surgical instruments. When surgery is over, the incisions will be closed with stitches.
For a detailed step-by-step explanation of the procedure, check out our article “Laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis: How does it work?”.
How do you prepare for a laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis?
If you’re considering a laparoscopy for endometriosis, the first step is having a consultation with one of our patient coordinators. They will ask you questions about your medical history, your overall health, and if you’re taking any medications regularly. Patients diagnosed with endometriosis and who are eligible for laparoscopy will be treated at the Gynecological Outpatient Clinic at KCM Clinic. You might be asked to perform some tests to get a comprehensive diagnosis. You will be given a detailed pre-op guide before your procedure.
What is the recovery after a laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis?
You will stay at our clinic for one night and you will be discharged the day after your laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis. Recovery time after a laparoscopy is much quicker compared to laparotomy, where a large incision is made.
A few hours after the procedure, you will be able to drink liquids and walk around. Always remember to take things slow and do only what you feel like you can handle. You will be able to consume easily digestible foods after around 12 hours. The doctor will prescribe painkillers to ease your recovery but pain after the procedure should be considerably reduced.
You can return to your daily activities after around 3 days, but wait until 7 to 10 days before you go back to your normal life fully. Do not lift any heavy weights or do any strenuous exercise for at least six weeks after surgery. You will receive a detailed post-op guide by our specialists with tips and guidelines for you to follow once you are back home.