How long after lap does healing take?

I posted a question a few weeks ago but it was just after those Guardian articles on endo, and there were a lot more people posting than usual, so I didn't get any replies and I thought I'd try again :)

I was just wondering how long after a lap I should wait before getting concerned about remaining symptoms. I had the operation in mid-August, so about two months ago now. It was done at a BCGE centre with an accredited specialist, and he removed minimal endo from my ovaries and uterosacral ligament, then a bigger patch from an Allen Masters window in my Pouch of Douglas. I'm still not sure if he excised or ablated it though (I'm not even 100% sure what an Allen Masters window is, despite Google's best efforts!), I was a bit too dopey after surgery to ask sensible questions and the surgeon didn't give out much information - he didn't even tell me he'd removed endo from my POD, I found that out from the letter he sent my GP! He also didn't give me a follow up appointment, just said to come back if the pain returned. He was a bit dismissive about the whole thing really, and I've been a bit wary of asking for a follow up.

Anyway, now I have a diagnosis that I feel quite wobbly about, some remaining symptoms, and no real clue about what to do with this information. In terms of symptoms, I was having pretty severe IBS and bladder problems, and my GP has prescribed me amitriptyline to help with those, which has done wonders. Apparently my endo was close to/irritating some nerves related to my bladder and bowels, so it makes sense that amitriptyline has calmed that down, as it works on nerve problems. However, I'm still getting the sort of pain I associate with the Pouch of Douglas endo, a bit before, during and after my period. That was the pain that sent me to the doctor in the first place because it's incapacitating and really quite scary when it's bad. My two periods post-op have been quite heavy and moderately painful (in terms of it's a level of pain I can just about still function with), but I'm not sure whether I can expect that to improve as the internal healing continues and settles down, or if I should be worried that *that* pain is still there, and maybe the surgeon missed something.

This probably doesn't make much sense because I'm quite tired today (stressful week at uni, I've just started an MSc and the workload is really heavy), sorry. It's possible I'm worrying about nothing just because this is all quite new to me and I'm still kind of emotional from getting the diagnosis. I'd really appreciate anyone's thoughts though.

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5 Replies

  • My first lap was nearly 2 years ago and I experienced a lot of very similar symptoms when I bled in the proceeding months. I did go back to my Drs and was told it was take some time to settle, so perhaps see how you go. However, do be careful you don't get discarded and slip through the net. My dr has told me before that unless I go to her and tell her what I am experiencing it is assumed everything is fine. I am also at uni and I find my endo causes me problems, I am currently in bed on liquid morphine rather than being at lectures! If you let your student services know they can be very supportive and ease the stress of the workload where possible. I wish you luck!! X

  • Thanks :) yeah, student services at my uni have been pretty good, I have all sorts of useful arrangements for exams etc so my marks shouldn't suffer if I'm ill on the day of an exam or just before an assignment is due in. I hope you can get back to lectures soon, definitely more fun than being stuck in bed, I'd even rather be in a statistics lecture than that!

  • Hi, I can see why you might feel a bit miffed about not having a follow up as that would have given you the opportunity to ask questions. I've had 2 laps and have been given follow ups 3 months after both times. Do you know much about how long your op was? as sometimes that can help to indicate how much they did or also contribute to the length of recovery needed after. I would say it is still early days of you are 2 months post lap. For my first one I was off work for 6 weeks and am currently off work for 2-3 months following my recent op. I think recovery time is very individual and it also depends on how much they did during your op. You know your body and if you still think things aren't right then go back to your GP. Have you tried the endo diet? I found this very helpful as well as exercise and a hot water bottle as a way to reduce using painkillers. My periods have continued to be painful to the point it hurts to walk however I'm hoping this op might help. I'm guessing I'll always have some form of pain on my period. Feel free to message if you want any further info. Good luck with your recovery.

  • Thanks for replying :) it's good to know it can take more than a couple of months to settle down - obviously I'd like it to happen sooner than later, but it's reassuring that the pain still present now could get better.

    I can't do the endo diet - I'm already dairy and gluten free due to allergies, I was also vegetarian for 17 years but started suffering from health problems due to it a few years ago and had to start eating meat again. Further restricting my diet would be a bad idea because I have a history of anorexia. I actually work as an eating disorders therapist now, and I see a lot of people who developed psychological problems after trying to control a chronic physical illness through diet. Typically it happens when people attribute random improvements in health to the diet, then when symptoms get worse again they decide they need to cut something else out, and before they know it they have a full blown eating disorder on top of the original illness. Because of my history I would be at huge risk of that if I tried to modify my diet. I would be happy to try exercising more, but any form of cardio sets the pain off, so I'm restricted to walking. My body is so awkward sometimes!

    I hope your op turns out to have reduced your pain, it'd be great if there was some way of knowing immediately, wouldn't it?

  • Yeah it would. I can see improvement already but I know it will take time. Sounds like you're already aware of a way of eating that works for you - I went to a nutrionist and found it really helpful to find out about things that could help and now eat more than I did previously but know that it helps - it's been trial and error but I think gluten, sugar and alcohol are closely related to making my pain worse. I can see what you mean about people restricting more and more which becomes unhelpful. I waited 3 months last time before exercising again - I find yoga much more painful than a bootcamp class that I do! Again I think it's just trial and error. Hope you feel better soon. I'm being patient and enjoying my time off by watching films rather than rushing back to work like last time.

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