I Had Excision Surgery for Endometriosis a Year Ago. What Has Changed?
I updated the community on my 3-month recovery. But a lot of people have asked how I feel now that I'm 1-year post-op. Here are some answers to my most frequently asked questions.
What symptoms did excision surgery help?
I went in for three main reasons: deep pain with intercourse, right hip and leg issues, and right-sided exercise cramps. The surgery provided relief from all of those, some more than others.
Here's a breakdown:
It no longer hurts to have sex
For clarification: I'm a cis-gender woman who has sex with men. Well, one man — the guy I've been with since my first endo surgery.
I'm specifically referring to penetrative sex. It's always been uncomfortable for me, especially the week before my period.
But my last surgery really does seem to have given long-lasting relief. With that said, pelvic floor therapy has helped ease my sex pain a lot over the years.
I highly recommend it if you're having discomfort during or after sex, or with orgasm.
My hip, leg, and foot pain is (mostly) still gone
A couple of years before my surgery, my right hip and leg would hurt so bad that I could hardly stand on them in the morning.
I'd also get numbness and pain that extended down to my foot. This pain would get better or worse depending on where I was in my menstrual cycle.
A regular doctor told me it was probably centralized pain that would get better with antidepressants.
She was wrong.
My hip and leg pain was 100% better immediately after surgery. I could tell a difference in recovery even before I took my post-op pain pills.
Some of the pre-period aches have come back, though not nearly as bad as before. I never have trouble walking or get top-of-the-foot pain.
My exercise cramp is better but not gone
About a month after surgery, I could run 3 miles with no issues. For years before surgery, I'd get what felt like a side stitch about 30 seconds in.
My insides could ache for hours after. I had complete relief from that for about 8 months.
Though, I can still run about 12 to 15 minutes before the cramp sets back in. Hiking or walking long distances isn't a problem.
I know scar tissue can grow back, and history shows that mine usually does. But my doc said he put in some kind of support to lessen the chances of that happening — I'm curious to see what happens in the coming years.
Did excision surgery help with your period pain?
Sadly, my bleeding cramps are still the worst. But I wasn't expecting surgery to fix that — I still have my uterus.
The procedure did, however, ease some of the general aches I usually get the week before my period.
I take a new medication for my period pain that helps me function.
Did excision surgery help with digestion problems?
I feel less nauseated and don't throw up for no reason. I consider that a win.
For about 10 glorious months, I stopped having gas that smelled like rotten eggs every time I ate something with natural or added sugar in it. I have no idea why this gas stopped for a little while— maybe something to do with gut bacteria and taking my appendix out?
But now it comes back around ovulation or during the week before my period.
It's gross. My husband and I laugh about it, so it's not that big of a deal.
The surgery didn't help with endo belly, bloating, or my non-celiac wheat sensitivity. For that, I still follow an anti-inflammatory, mostly gluten-free, low-FODMAP diet.
I also eat smaller portion sizes.
If surgery didn't fix everything, was it worth it?
For me, yes, but I was lucky enough to see an endometriosis and excision specialist covered by my insurance. But even after surgery, I take other steps to feel better.
- Manage my mental health
- Make diet changes
- Keep an eye on my weird symptoms
- Check in with other specialists
- And even more specialists
Talk to a trusted health professional to see if surgery might be right for you. If you've had an excision or another kind of surgery, let us know how you're doing!
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