An Endo Health Coach's Surgery Preparation Tips
I’ve had two surgeries.
My first one was acutely painful and debilitating. My second one was totally different.
I had minimal pain and my energy returned swiftly. In fact, I was able to walk gently around the house pretty much as soon as I got home.
The difference was that by the second surgery, I understood how to best manage my endometriosis symptoms and I had learned how to listen to my body. Now, of course, everyone is different, but I found what worked for me.
And since training as an endometriosis health coach, I have learned how to prepare the body for surgery and I’ve seen the benefits with my clients. So today, I’m sharing with you some of my top tips for preparing for surgery.
Inflammation after surgery
Did you know that inflammation is a healthy healing response to damage or threat in the body? Acute, temporary inflammation is normal – chronic inflammation, however, is not.1
As part of this normal healing process, inflammation can create redness, swelling, and pain. This is to protect the injured area and it should subside as the area heals.
The problem is if we have elevated levels of inflammation already if we have chronic inflammation. Those symptoms of swelling and pain are going to be much worse, will be prolonged, and can actually hinder healing.
One of the most effective ways to reduce chronic inflammation is to adopt healthy eating behaviors, which you can start doing ahead of your surgery. The Mediterranean diet, which is rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, fish, healthy fats, lean protein, nuts, seeds, and whole grains is said to be one of the most effective diets to reduce inflammation.
There are plenty of other anti-inflammatory diets, including paleo and vegetarian.2 Of course, you don’t need to ascribe to a label to eat well! Just upping your vegetable and fruit intake will go a long way.
Importance of increasing nutrients
Once you’ve added some anti-inflammatory, nutrient-packed foods to your diet, you may also want to add a little additional help from some select supplements. First up is fish oil.
Fish oil was shown to reduce the inflammatory healing process and adhesion formation post-surgery in mice with endometriosis.3 But this was on animals, so what about humans?
In humans, several studies have demonstrated a reduction in pain and inflammation with endometriosis and pelvic pain.4 Additionally, it’s been shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory pain reliever and was effective in reducing pain post laparoscopy in conjunction with dietary therapy and supplements.5,6
However, please consult your surgeon ahead of your surgery, as fish oil can sometimes thin the blood and they may want you to stop a few days ahead.
You could also try proteolytic enzymes. Proteolytic enzymes might help to lower inflammation and adhesion formation and aid in clearing waste products from the wound site post-surgery.7
However, the only study we have on enzymes for endometriosis surgery specifically is Wobenzyme. When taken 40-60 days before surgery and then another 60 days after surgery, Wobenzyme was shown to reduce pain and inflammation and inhibit the formation of new blood vessels, reducing the likeliness of further endo development.8
Healing the mind after surgery
Finally, don’t be fooled by the “You’ll be able to go back to work in a few days” speech. Most clients I see tend to feel ready for work at the two-week mark.
The procedure is still trauma to the body after all, and there’s lots of healing to do, so people can tend to have inconsistent energy levels. On top of that, it’s an emotionally and mentally taxing experience.
Giving yourself two weeks to recover from that, without the deadline of work looming over you, can be really helpful.
Do you know someone that has made a difference with endometriosis advocacy?