Endometriosis UK
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Infertility and awful periods, is it worth having a laparoscopy?

Hi

I'm new here and I'm hoping someone might be able to help.

I've been trying for a baby for about 2.5 years with no joy. We've had all the tests abd have been diagnosed with unexplained fertility.

Originally I went to the doctor a few years ago as I was worried my period pain meant something was wrong and might affect my fertility. I was told I didn't have enough symptoms for endometriosis and was sent away with some painkillers.

Going by a lot of the stories on here, I'm sure some of you would kill for my periods. This is what has convinced me in the past (along with doctors) that I'm just unlucky, and I don't have endo, as I only have the pain on day one and sometimes day two. If I take ibuprofen at the first incling of the pain, I'm absolutely fine. But if I go without it, I will wake up in a sweat, suffering from low abdominal pain, will be up and down to the toilet with loose stools and sometimes will be sick or pass out. It's usually over within a few hours and I feel drained for most of the day afterwards.

I'm 37 now and within the last year it's changed from being at the start of my period to lasting a couple of days. Tbh I don't risk it much and usually end up taking ibuprofen before it starts, so I don't know how much I could bear the pain at the moment. It;s not worth the risk if I come on on a work day. However I know you shouldn't take ibuprofen when trying for a baby. I do also get ovulation pain and something that feels similar to ovulation pain for about 3 days before my period, in the groin area.

When we first went for fertility treatment I went in and asked for a laparoscopy. I was told the waiting list would be 3-6 months for a doctor to go in and have a look, and then if he found anything I'd be back on another waiting list to go in and have it removed. But I was advised against it as nothing showed up on my transvaginal ultrasound or my MRI, and my egg quality is good (and apparently it wouldn't be if I had endo according to the doctor.)

We opted instead to go straight for IUI, and after one failed medicated cycle (trying on our own at home) and one failed IUI we were moved to a different clinic due to NHS funding.

After I was put off the laparoscopy I did some reading, and thought well, I could assume I do have endo, and if that's the case maybe I can do what I can to help myself naturally. So I looked at diet and have been having acupuncture. I'm due to start chinese herbs this week for fertility.

Fast forward 6 months and we have just been to speak to the doctor at our new clinic. She strongly advised a laparoscopy given our history, my pain, and that the IUI didn't work. The surgeon in this clinic is top notch and specialises in endometriosis, so I guess if I am ever going to have it done this might be the time. Also now I could have it on the NHS as part of our fertility treatment, and I'm told if I waited I would later have to pay.

I'm now in a bit of a pickle, having since read how it can potentially make things worse, it's really invasive, and chinese medicine is a much gentler way of dealing with endo (if I have it).

However I would like some answers as to why I might have this pain. And I've always had it, since my first period, so maybe it's just the way I'm built.

This has ended up being a longer post than I intended but if anyone can offer any similar stories or reassurance I would be really grateful.

Thanks

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Hey there, some of your story is similar to mine. Please read my posts and let me know if u have any questions xx

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Hi Jacki,

I had similar period pain to you. It would wake me in the night and was super painful for 2-3 days but manageable (ie I could go to work which distracted me) if I took regular Nurofen+ (which contains a small amount of codeine) and paracetamol to keep on top of it.

When my consultant went in to do a laparoscopy they found stage 3 endo. Which was a shock as I’d never missed a day of work due to period pain.

What I’m saying is don’t assume the amount of pain you can deal with is the same as anybody else’s and that endo can be relatively pain free.

I am a week post op and while I’m sure it is invasive I feel pretty ok. I had my endo removed and am up and about with small amount of pain which is manageable with paracetamol.

Do what feels right for you and your situation.

Lx

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i'm glad you have a similar set-up to me re. period pain; i'm going back and forth with myself about whether it's all in my head!

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Do it!

I didn’t get pregnant for two years. I had a lap and they removed some very very minor endometrial patches. I’ve been pregnant twice since.

There’s some Canadian research which says you are more likely to conceive after even very minor removal of endo.

I’ve never seen any convincing research on Chinese medicine to help conception and ivf clinics usually tell you not to take any Chinese herbs as they can cause adverse reactions to ivf.

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Hi. I was trying for a baby for 5 years. I was getting terrible pains during ovulation. I have heavy periods. I was finally admitted to have a laporoscopy but the wait was hurrendous so I went private. A small amount of endometriosis was found. Low and behold I got pregnant straight away and have a healthy little boy. After trying again, I've had a miscarriage, pregnant again and holding out all is well but it does feel like endometriosis pains which are similar to pregnancy pains. Watch this space. They also couldn't understand why I was in so much pain. The midwives confirm endometriosis impacts pregnancy. I also have lactose intolerance which is again linked. The diet does help. Good luck x

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as in lactose intolerance is linked to endo?x

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Yes. Apparently so. I have a book on endometriosis nutrition x

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Hi jacki81, I’m in the same situation exactly! All what you described is identical to my symptoms. I wanted to do a laparoscopy but my Dr told me that it’s better to go for 2 months of Lupron (injection) to calm down my endometrios before to do IVF. It’s like if they put your body in menopause for 2 months. I’m sure it helps but I’m still thinking I need a laparoscopy to really understand what’s going on there! Best luck to you!

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Thank you so much everyone for your replies. It made me a little tearful yesterday to read your stories and what you've been through, but it all sounds very positive and encouraging. Thank you for taking the time to offer your support to me.

I am going to see a new acupunturist today who specialises in fertility so it will be interesting to hear her take on things. Though from what you have all said I think the lap will be a good idea :-)

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let us know what she says x

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Ok so for anyone wondering I had a really interesting chat with the acupuncturist. This was a new lady who I hadn't seen before. She looked through my temperature charts and said with my history and symptoms I should really have the lap to rule out endo, especially as I'm not getting any younger! The other thing that came up is that my LH and FSH levels were the wrong way around - in March '17 LH was 9.6 and FSH was 6.2, then in May LH was 7.5 and FSH 6.2. I've made another appointment to check more recently as I've been having acupuncture since Jan '17 and as the LH went down over that couple of months, it could be that they've since leveled out. If not I could be looking at a very mild PCOS so I need to make an appointment to have that checked out too. She said we will look at the chinese herbs after I have had the op and the tests so we will know what we are working with, and the herbs can potentially be used to help with the hormones and any endo (if they find anything). Fingers crossed it's just the hormones.

So things feel like they are progressing, just not necessarily in the right direction! But at least if I can get something to work on I can aim for it. I'm currently reading a book called Heal Endometriosis Naturally - I decided it couldn't hurt to follow her diet and ideas even if they don't find anything.

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I have only just had my first lap 11 days ago. They found endo and removed it. I wouldbt say the lap was invasive. It gave me clarification. And yes i was in pain and uncomfortable but within a week was up on my feet.

Alot of youre symptoms sound similar to what I had. All I would say is if period pain is effecting you're day to day life it's not normal. I have had pain on my period but compared to some ladies stories and symptoms on hear my pain appears to be alot less. And I'm also the opposite that i have irregular lighter period, but endo was found.

Hope that helps a little.

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Thanks that’s really encouraging! Mine are always on the light side too, something doesn’t make sense. It would be a relief to have clarification. I hope you’re recovering well.

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Hey hun.

I have endometriosis. I was diagnosed June last year with it and I conceived naturally first time ever in six years! I did miscarry but it was still huge progress as we didn’t think we could conceive

. Sadly endo is a chronic condition and can and does grow back. It isn’t a nice disease to have.

I had my second laparoscopy Friday and had most the endo treated , but refered to a bowel specialist as some is on my bowel causing serious symptoms. I think mine grew back due to hormonal changes.

I’d always advise any ladies struggling with infertility to have a laparoscopy to rule/diagnosis & treat endo. We had every test come back normal and were unexplained for nearly 6 years( and I had so many issue with my cycles which were unexplained too 🙄 ) till my diagnosis of endometriosis. Scans will not usually detect endometriosis- mine never did.

Thing is if you had endo on your uterus it can prevent implantation and may reduce your chances.

At least you will know either way and know the treatment has the best chance.

You can help reduce some endo symptoms by looking carefully at diet- ive cut gluten and dairy out as advised by fertility doctor. Also soya can make you produce more estrogen and make endo grow more.

If you have any questions on the procedure or just fancy a chat I’m here xoxo

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Aw thank you so much for all your lovely messages! Jess I have only just read yours and I’m sorry for not replying.

I just wanted to update for anyone else who clicks through - I went for my lap today, and it turns out there was no endo! So I feel like one of the lucky ones from that perspective (though we still have questions why we aren’t conceiving) However, as Jess said, I would totally recommend it to anyone who is unsure. It’s nice after years of wondering to have that piece of mind.

I was in and out within and hour and have been absolutely fine all day. I imagine because they didn’t find or remove anything I have had it slightly easier, but if anyone is contemplating an exploratory lap then I say do it.

I don’t know what my scars are going to be like yet but one is hidden right down in my pubic hair (which I shaved down a bit lower in the hope he might do this) and the other is just under my belly button. That one didn’t even have stitches but just a strong dressing stuck on so I’m not sure how it will heal yet.

I had some ibuprofen and morphing during the op about 12 hours ago but since haven’t had to take anything. My only pain really has been shoulder pain from the gas which I’ve managed to control with peppermints and something that felt a bit like cystitis, but I’m told that a normal and doesn’t need treating. It didn’t last long.

Hoping I’ll be feeling this good tomorrow after the anaesthetic has worn off properly!

Thanks again to everyone who replied with support, I was so nervous and really didn’t need to be! :-)

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