What You Can do After Laparoscopy to Improve your Experience
Unusual vaginal bleeding, heavy and painful periods, chronic pelvic pain, and painful intercourse can be alarming. These symptoms can also become a frustrating aspect of life when their source is not immediately identified. This can be the case with endometriosis. According to research, many women wait 10 years before they receive a conclusive diagnosis that explains their symptoms. This can happen because endometriosis is tricky. The lesions that can form outside of the uterus are not visible on non-invasive imaging like ultrasound. To diagnose endometriosis, a doctor may have to perform laparoscopy.
Laparoscopy is a minimally-invasive technique that is both diagnostic and clinical in nature. The procedure is performed through a few tiny incisions. Through them, the doctor inserts a thin tube with a camera to observe the uterus and other pelvic organs. If lesions are found, tiny instruments can be inserted through the remaining incisions to remove them. Here, we discuss some tips for easing the recovery process after laparoscopy.
Preparing for Recovery
Often, when patients think about planning for recovery from surgery or an office procedure, they think of tasks like filling prescriptions and pre-making meals for a few days. Recovery from laparoscopy may be slightly different than others, and can be well-managed with the following:
- Go slow. Patients should not be surprised by feelings of sadness or overwhelm after their laparoscopy. These feelings, as well as weepiness, may initially relate to coming off anesthesia. They may linger due to the confirmation of endometriosis, if that diagnosis is made. This goes back to the frustration a woman may feel after years of misdiagnosis and ongoing pain. Feelings are normal. Let them happen, and remember to just take life slow for a few days. Rest helps bring everything back into balance.
- Get good help. Patients will need someone to drive them home after their procedure and to stay with them for the remainder of the day. We suggest asking the most compassionate and comforting person possible due to the potential emotional effects of the procedure.
- Arrange enough time off. It can take 1 to 2 weeks to feel completely back to normal again. During that time, rest is essential. Patients may need time off work as well as time off parenting duties while they heal.
- Bring necessities for the ride home. Two necessities that may be invaluable include a soft pillow or towel and a deep bowl or bag. The pillow can be placed in between the abdomen and seatbelt to prevent discomfort. The bowl or bag may come in handy if anesthesia causes nausea or vomiting.
- Prepare for gas. The laparoscopy may involve mild inflation of the abdominal cavity for adequate viewing of the uterus. Carbon dioxide can get trapped, causing gassiness. Two ways to deal with this include drinking peppermint tea and taking slow, gentle walks a few times a day.
Gynecological symptoms deserve careful examination. To schedule an appointment at our Houston office, call 713.955.6560 or contact us online.