Endometriosis can be a painful and frustrating condition. It’s important that you know when to seek treatment and what options are available.
Many women affected by endometriosis experience painful periods, cramping, heavy bleeding and bloating. Sometimes, symptoms are so strong that day-to-day activities become a struggle.
While there are treatments that can give you relief, it might become necessary to undergo a surgical procedure. In this article, you can find information about endometriosis, when it might be time to consider surgical options and what other treatment options are available.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition that causes chronic inflammation leading to scar tissue and cysts. This happens when a tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (called “the endometrium”) grows in places other than the lining of the uterus. Endometriosis can be found in the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, or the outer wall of the uterus.
Unfortunately there is no definitive cure for endometriosis but there are several treatment options that can help you manage the pain and discomfort caused by the condition.
What treatments are available for endometriosis?
Your doctor may recommend a few conservative treatments to help you find relief from pain. You might need to try different treatments to find the ones that work for you. Endometriosis can be treated as follows:
- Hormonal therapy: Birth control pills, progestin therapy, danazol treatment, or aromatase therapy can help slow down endometrial tissue growth and therefore alleviate pain.
- Pain medication: Analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs or narcotic/opioid analgesics are prescribed for pain management associated with endometriosis.
- Patients might also find pelvic-floor therapy, massage therapy, heat therapy, acupuncture, and exercise helpful.
- Surgical options including laparoscopic surgery, hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), and laparotomy (open surgery to remove scar tissue and cysts, only performed when the condition is severe or patients don’t qualify for laparoscopy).
When is it time to consider surgery for endometriosis?
Your doctor may recommend surgery when conservative treatments and medications no longer relieve your endometriosis symptoms.
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.
Laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis is not only used to remove lesions and scarring, but it is sometimes necessary to diagnose the condition in the first place.
Surgery can be beneficial for patients who:
- Have long-standing or severe pelvic pain.
- Need to remove areas of endometriosis in their pelvic area.
- Do not find any help in relieving endometriosis symptoms only by taking medications.
- Find it difficult to get pregnant.
Laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis: How does it work?
Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure where scar tissue or cysts caused by endometriosis are removed.
Depending on the amount of lesions that need to be removed, laparoscopy can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 6 hours. The procedure is carried out under general anaesthesia, so you will be unconscious through the entire duration of the procedure.
This is how a laparoscopy for endometriosis works step by step:
- The surgeon starts surgery by making a few small incisions in your abdomen. These incisions will be the access points for the surgical instruments.
- Carbon dioxide is injected into your abdomen to raise the abdominal wall and allow the insertion of laparoscopic instruments, including a tiny camera, also known as laparoscope.
- The surgeon removes scarring, lesions and the affected tissue. The endometrial cysts of the ovaries are ejected or opened, emptied and coagulated.
- At the end, the surgical instruments are removed. The carbon dioxide is released.
- Incisions are closed with cosmetic sutures.
You might still be bloated after you wake up from the anaesthesia but it will get better after a few hours. Most patients notice significant relief after the procedure. You can find a detailed explanation of the procedure in our article “Laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis: How does it work?”.
Can endometriosis come back after laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis?
Unfortunately, endometriosis might come back after surgery. Lesions that appear after surgery might be new or pre-existing so it might be difficult for your doctor to assess whether endometriosis has come back or is progressing.
Endometriosis might come back after a laparoscopic surgery depending on:
- How severe endometriosis was when you had surgery.
- How lesions were removed during surgery (completely or partially).
- Whether you had medical suppressive therapy after surgery.
Laparoscopic treatment for endometriosis: Where do you start?
If you have endometriosis, your doctor might already have recommended some of the treatments described above. If conservative treatments are not helping anymore, you might find relief with laparoscopic surgery. You can discuss your options with your doctor, or get in touch with us for a consultation. Our Gynecological Center at KCM Clinic has helped women affected by the condition for several years. Laparoscopic surgery is less invasive than traditional surgery, and recovery time is much quicker. You will still be off your feet for a few days or weeks (depending on the extent of the surgery), but many women have seen a great improvement in their life afterwards.
We are here to assist you if you need more information on laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis or other treatment options. Our patient coordinators will be in touch with you to answer any questions you might have. They will walk you through the procedure and ask you a few questions to assess your eligibility for the procedure. Your safety and well-being are our top priorities and we will make sure that your stay at our clinic runs as seamlessly as possible.
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