Reviewed by Dr. Melissa Thompson, PT, DPT, MTC
Dr. Thompson is board certified and the owner of Louisiana Pelvic Health. Her expertise is in alleviating bladder, bowel, and sexual pain symptoms during pregnancy, postpartum, and throughout a woman's life.
I think you’ll agree with me when I say:
You may feel afraid when you think or hear of the word “surgery.”
I’ve had two endometriosis surgeries. I know the feeling…
You’re likely very concerned about how your life will look like after the surgery.
Will you be in pain? Will your day-to-day routines be different?
In this guide, I share my own experience and what a typical endometriosis surgery recovery looks like.
I will review the following common questions and concerns with you so that you can feel informed and at ease with the process:
- When is surgery necessary?
- Common types of surgery for Endometriosis
- Endometriosis surgery recovery
- How you will feel after surgery
When Is Surgery Necessary?
Endometriosis occurs when the tissue around the uterus lining grows outside of the uterus, which causes many women pain.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve passed up a date, or a girl’s night out, or even a family dinner due to your symptoms.
Now things are so bad that you’re either considering surgery or have already had the surgery.
Thankfully, I’ve been able to dramatically reduce my symptoms through natural methods such as diet, lifestyle changes, supplements, and more. I’m confident you can do the same.
If the following changes to your life does not produce significant results, surgery may be the next step to help ease your pain:
- Eating Healthy
- Food avoidance
- Meal planning
- Using medication
- Hormone therapy
There are a few different types of surgery for endometriosis, but the most common is: Laparoscopic Surgery
Keep reading to find out more about surgery and endometriosis.
Do Women with Stage 4 Endo Always Need Surgery?
According to Health, the stages of endometriosis do not relate to the amount of discomfort a woman feels.
The stages refer to the severity of the condition.
Stage 4 endometriosis signifies that there are large cysts on the ovaries and adhesions in the pelvic area.
If surgery is needed, the location of your endometriosis will determine the type of surgery you need and will also determine the recovery time after your surgery.
Here are four types of endometriosis according to WebMD:
- Abdominal wall endometriosis is usually formed from the scarring of the abdominal wall after a Caesarean section, according to a study in NCBI
- Superficial peritoneal endometriosis is the most minimal form of endometriosis according to the Endometriosis Foundation of America, in which the membrane that lines the abdomen has endometriosis tissue.
- Endometriomas occurs when endometrial tissue grows on the ovaries.
- Deeply infiltrating endometriosis (DIE) occurs when endometrial tissue invades other organs outside your pelvic abdomen.
If medication, hormone therapy, or other treatments have been effective for your endometriosis, then it may not be necessary for you to have surgery if you are in stage 4 of endometriosis.
With some rare cases, a hysterectomy may be needed to treat advanced stages of endometriosis when other treatments have not succeeded previously.
Stage 4 endometriosis surgery recovery time is between six to eight weeks if you have a hysterectomy.
With laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis, recovery is between one to three weeks.
Other types of surgery for endometriosis will be discussed further in this guide.
Can You Do Anything To Ease The Surgery Recovery?
Endometriosis surgery recovery involves a few things from you to help ensure that you heal properly from the procedure.
The most important thing to remember is to give yourself time to heal.
It will take a few weeks before your body can return to normal activities.
Here are a few things you can avoid to make sure you have a speedy recovery:
- Sexual intercourse can resume as soon as one or two weeks after surgery once you feel comfortable. If you have a hysterectomy, you will need to wait until the stitches heal. Here is a great all-natural product to help with dryness during intercourse.
- Bending, stretching, and lifting may cause discomfort and can interfere with the dressing and healing of the surgery site.
Things You Can Do Before Surgery To Aid Recovery
Before surgery, you should do a few things to make your life easier:
- Stop taking any vitamins, supplements, or anything that thins the blood such as aspirin.
- Prepare several days of meals ahead of time so that you won’t have to cook after the surgery.
- Clean and do laundry because it will be uncomfortable to move after the surgery.
Talk with your doctor and ask if you need to shave or wax the area of the incision to reduce itchiness.
Things You Can Do After Surgery To Aid Recovery
After your surgery, you should expect to feel groggy and uncomfortable.
Make sure you arrange for someone to drive you home and avoid taking baths for a week - you may take showers 24 hours after the surgery.
Here are some more tips following your surgery:
- Wear loose-fitting clothes
- Have slip-on shoes
- Wear low cut underwear
- During the car ride home, have a pillow against the surgery area to ease any discomfort especially when sneezing
- Eat light foods, soups, and foods high in fiber
- Drink peppermint tea to help alleviate gas from the procedure
Remember, rest and time are very important for your healing!
2 Common Types Of Surgery For Endo
Here are two types of surgery you can receive for endometriosis:
- Endometriosis laparoscopic surgery involves small incisions in the abdominal or pelvic area.
- Endometriosis excision surgery refers to the removal of endometriotic implants while preserving the uterus, tubes, and ovaries.
These are the most common surgeries for endometriosis.
#1 - Endometriosis Laparoscopic Surgery Recovery
Endometriosis laparoscopic surgery is the most common surgery to remove endometriosis.
This procedure involves a surgeon placing a camera into the incision point to see and remove the endometriosis.
Your stomach will be filled with a gas to push organs away to help the surgeon see clearly.
This particular surgery has been proven effective for people with moderate to severe endometriosis according to a study in NCBI.
At Home Care
Once at home, you should try and get as much rest as possible during the first few days to allow your muscles to rest and heal.
Other things you can do while at home include the following:
- Drink plenty of fluids to prevent constipation.
- Avoid using tampons or menstrual cups.
- Roll to your side when getting out of bed and use your arms to support your weight.
- Eat dry crackers and drink ginger ale if you feel nauseous.
- Work on breathing and taking deep breaths; there may be some pain in your chest and arms for a few days due to the gas used during the procedure.
- Take your medication as it is prescribed and don’t miss any doses.
If you have a fever or experience heavy bleeding, you should contact your doctor right away.
Also, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
- Redness or swelling at the surgery site
- Fainting or dizziness
- Swelling that gets worse
If you feel uncomfortable or are unsure about anything during your recovery time, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor’s office.
Risks And Complications
Laparoscopy is a common and generally safe procedure that is performed.
However, like any procedure, there are some risks and complications that could occur such as:
- Internal bleeding
- Damage to other organs
Your doctor will review these things with you before the procedure is performed.
#2 - Endometriosis Excision Surgery Recovery
Endometriosis excision surgery recovery is usually one week or less. More severe cases may take up to 10 days to recover.
During this procedure, two incisions are made to avoid the abdominal area, unlike laparoscopic procedures.
At Home Care
Care after this procedure is very similar to the laparoscopic procedure. You
may want to do these following things:
- Be careful to not begin exercising too soon. When you do begin exercising again, start slowly and work your way back to your normal regiment.
- Take medication as prescribed. Motrin may be given at 600mg every six hours to help alleviate pain.
- Use a heating pad on your lower stomach to help relax muscles.
As stated previously, please contact your doctor if you have any of these following symptoms as soon as possible:
- Severe nausea especially after the first 24 hours of surgery
- Severe swelling that does not resolve over time
- Fever, fainting, or dizziness
Possible Risks And Complications
The risks and complications from the endometriosis excision surgery are very similar to laparoscopy, but are not as likely to happen as with a hysterectomy. The risks might include:
- Internal bleeding
- Damage to organs
Outlook: How Can You Expect To Feel After You Recover?
How you will feel after you recover varies from woman to woman. Continuing to live a healthy lifestyle will help improve your overall health and keep endometriosis at bay.
Endometriosis can come back after surgery depending on these factors:
- The severity of your condition
- The amount of endometrial tissue removed
- Postoperative suppressive therapy
To help prevent endometriosis from recurring, continue living a healthy lifestyle. Click here for more natural ways to treat endometriosis.