Surgery for Endometriosis
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a disorder that occurs when the tissue lining the uterus starts to grow around the uterus itself. The lining of the uterus is called the endometrium. Growths can then attach to the ovaries as well as other organs and can cause painful symptoms. Endometriosis can also make it more difficult to fall pregnant. The cause of endometriosis is not known.
What are the symptoms?
Endometriosis symptoms range from mild to moderate to severe symptoms. The severity of the pain doesn’t indicate the stage of the condition. The most common endometriosis symptom is pelvic pain. Endometriosis can also cause symptoms including:
- Pain after sexual intercourse
- Painful periods
- Pain in the lower abdomen before and during menstruation
- Heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding in between periods
- Discomfort with bowel movements
- Lower back pain during the menstrual cycle
- Cramps one or two weeks around menstruation
Your gynaecologist may recommend endometriosis surgery if you are experiencing one of the following:
- Severe pain
- Endometriosis cysts on one or both ovaries
- Problems with fertility
- Endometriosis that is interfering with internal organs
How can it be treated?
The most common way in which severe endometriosis is treated is with laparoscopy – a surgical procedure in which the surgeon uses a laparoscope to remove scar tissue. Laparoscopy also allows your surgeon to look for any other possible problems.
How does laparoscopy work?
The procedure is generally performed under a general anaesthetic. First, the abdomen is inflated with gas. This pushes the abdominal wall away from the organs, allowing the surgeon to see them properly. A laparoscope is then inserted through a very small incision in the abdomen and examines the internal organs. Scar tissue is then removed or destroyed with an electric current (electrocautery) or laser beam. After the procedure, the incisions in the abdomen will be stitched close. Laparoscopic surgery offers little to no scarring and a short recovery time.