I am finishing up writing this article as I am preparing to go into endometriosis surgery myself, tomorrow. I will be sure to update you all with a new article with my experience as soon as I am able!
Since I announced my upcoming surgery, I have received a flood of support from friends, family, and even strangers. I have also heard some curiosity around why I am choosing to have surgery when I am so outspoken about taking a holistic approach.
The truth is that endometriosis is a very complex disease. There is not a one size fits all solution. Diet and lifestyle changes can make an enormous difference in the life of an endometriosis warrior. For some, it may even be enough to reduce or eliminate pain and symptoms and even heal infertility. Others might see improvement through these changes, but may require surgery in addition to fully relieve symptoms and bring their bodies into remission.
My Own Endometriosis Journey
I first started really noticing symptoms of endometriosis five years ago when I went off of birth control and started trying to start a family with my husband. In hindsight, I had shown symptoms prior to birth control, but thought it was all “normal.” This is one story I am working to change in young women’s lives, but that is a story for another day.
I started experiencing periods that were so painful I would find myself just curled up on the couch, completely frozen and unable to even move around. I remember trying to get up the stairs of my house. Crawling was my the only way I could do this and I would have to take at least three or four breaks on the way up (I lived in a 2 story house).
We consulted with a fertility specialist since we had been unable to conceive and she discovered via ultrasound that I had a large endometrioma on my right ovary. At least I had somewhat of an answer. What I didn’t have was a solution.
After months of IVF and medical management for endometriosis, I found myself feeling much worse and no closer to my goals. I knew there had to be another way.
Holistic Care for Endometriosis
Finally, after years of struggling, I discovered the true power of diet and lifestyle. I had actually always been a fairly health conscious person. I was a former vegetarian (also a topic for another day), practiced yoga, and did some home cooking. What I discovered though was that being healthy for me meant really figuring out what works for my body. I would still say to anyone who is currently struggling with endometriosis pain.
Is endometriosis surgery the right option for you?
Of course I myself am not a doctor and am unable to give medical advice. What I can do is give you some information about surgical treatment for endometriosis and share some resources for finding a surgeon to consult with.
As I mentioned before, not everyone with endometriosis will require surgery. I always recommend to my clients that they start with diet and lifestyle work. For some this may relieve symptoms altogether. Others might experience some symptom relief and their body will be better prepared for surgery in the future and to help prevent recurrence after surgery.
Diet and lifestyle support are still a crucial factor with or without surgery and also both before and after surgery.
If you have already been doing the diet and lifestyle support and have experienced some symptom relief, but still need more, a consultation with a skilled surgeon is a great next step.
The lowdown on endometriosis surgery
Skilled endometriosis excision surgery is considered the gold standard for both diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis. The word “skilled” in that statement is of utmost importance. I have talked to many clients and friends who have had surgeries with surgeons who were less knowledgeable and have not had great experiences. If you are considering surgery, be sure to do your research and find a surgeon who works primarily with endometriosis. Nancy’s Nook is an excellent resource for finding a highly skilled surgeon. This is the network in fact where I found my own surgeon!
An endo excision surgery is performed laparoscopically and is typically a robotic assisted surgery. This helps women to have a faster recovery and smaller incisions, leading to less scarring. The surgeon removes growths and scar tissue while leaving the healthy tissue intact as much as possible.
Endometriosis excision vs. ablation
If you are looking into surgery as an option, I first of all must stress again the importance of finding a qualified surgeon. You want to look for someone who specializes in endometriosis and for whom this type of surgery is a priority in their practice.
There is another type of surgery for endometriosis called ablation. In this surgery, a heat source is used to destroy tissue. The problem here is that it may not reach deep enough to destroy all lesions and also does not allow for pathology. It is much more common for women to experience recurrence of symptoms following this type of procedure.
My final thoughts on endometriosis surgery
At the end of the day, this choice is very bio-individual (just like everything else in my practice!).
This is where building a team around you is an important piece of endometriosis care. Excision surgery is absolutely a huge help, but we must view our bodies in a holistic way. If we combine diet and lifestyle choices along with western medicine, this can be a winning combination for so many.
If you are struggling with endometriosis and are feeling like you don’t know where to turn, or where to start, come join my 1:1 coaching program today. There is so very much that we can do to start decreasing symptoms ASAP while you are also working with your doctors. From one endo warrior to another, you don’t have to live like this! It is possible for pain to be a thing of the past. You can make plans again and stick to them, you can look at your calendar without stressing about when your next period might hit and ruin all the fun.
You are not alone and you deserve to feel your very best!
Much love and happy healing!
Nancy’s Nook. Why excision is recommended. Retrieved from: https://nancysnookendo.com/why-excision-is-recommended/
Krabbenborg, Iris; de Roos, Nicole; van der Grinten, Pim; Nap, Annemieck. (2021). Diet quality and perceived effects of dietary changes in Dutch endometriosis patients: an observational study. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1472648321003515
Hirsch, Martin and Barker, Claire. (2021). Keyhole surgery for pain associated with endometriosis. Retrieved from: https://www.evidentlycochrane.net/keyhole-surgery-endometriosis-pain/