Had my first laparoscopy in July and was diagnosed with endo. A friend of a friend is about to undergo her first one, with suspected endometriosis so I wrote her an email with tips/advice from my experience. Thought I’d post it just on the off chance that it may help anyone else.
Feel free to take what you like from any of the following or ignore it altogether. I know if I was to do it all over again I would have appreciated knowing some of these things so here goes...
Eat the last meal you can, although it’s a outpatient operation I went in at 8:30am and didn’t leave until 4pm so was greatful for having eaten a meal at three in the morning.
Take all the pain relief offered afterwards. When the anaesthetic wears off you’ll be grateful!
You also may experience shoulder tip pain afterwards, it’s completely normal; if you’ve had keyhole they blow you up with air so that they can see everything and get inside properly and when the operation is over for some reason the air travels to the tip of your shoulder! Painkillers should help, it’s should go after a day or two.
When I talked through the operation with the gynaecologist he told me they’d be going through my belly button with the camera and any operative equipment, however when I woke up I realised that they had also gone through my pelvis and there was a small entry point just above my knicker line. Later I realised that because they found quite a lot they needed to make more incisions.
Take a pillow for the car journey home, seatbelts put a lot of pressure on exactly the places where your wounds are and it’s useful to have a pillow as a barrier between you and the seatbelt (this might be useful for a few days).
Cold is better than heat for helping with the pain and bruising after. I found a bag of peas was the best as it moulds to your body! Buy some arnica cream for the bruising, it will take a day or two to come out but mine was pretty big. You can also get arnica tablets that you can take with painkillers and anti inflammatories that will also help for the internal bruising.
Your stomach muscles are shot as they do a lot of routing around inside and I found getting in and out of bed really difficult for the first week and couldn’t sleep on my side. If you have access to a pregnancy cushion use it for sleeping and if you have the option to have a bed to yourself it will help. I had a chair to get in and out of bed too but my parents had to help me for the first few days.
Make sure you get a copy of your discharge notes before you leave the hospital and ensure there is a follow up appointment booked with your gynaecologist. I had issues with the hospital communicating with my gp afterwards, when I went to get my stitches taken out they had no idea what operation I had had! (Hopefully I was just unlucky)
As well as a laparoscopy I had a large biopsy taken from my uterus and my cervix cauterised so I also had a lot of bleeding after. I had post baby maternity type pants/pads that helped.
Any clothes with a waist band were very uncomfortable. Super stretchy leggings that go over your belly and large T-shirt’s or jumpers are super comfy. I started walking three days after the op, very slowly and built it up every day.
The double strength ibuprofen they gave me made me feel really really sick so I only took paracetamol and the arnica tablets after a few days.
My stomach was super sensitive (I think a combination of the painkillers and the anaesthetic) I ate fruit and veg and plain carbs for a few days drank peppermint and looooads of water.
The main thing I wanted was a bath but as you can’t get your stitches wet a very awkward shower had to do!
The first week is pretty rough but the second week is much better, I was surprised how well everything healed!
Endometriosis UK has some good info about laparoscopies too if you want to have a look around their site.
If the diagnosis is endometriosis there’s a lot to get your head around. There’s lots of information and help to be found but it’s not all in one place and it can be hard to find if you don’t know where to look.
I’ve been a bit overwhelmed that there have been so many people that have been in the same situation eager to help me. It has however made navigating what can be a very isolating condition a lot easier.
Look after yourself, best wishes! X