While we’d all love to avoid surgery and only manage our symptoms with natural remedies, sometimes specialised excision laparoscopic surgery to is required to remove the endometriosis. If that’s the case, then my hope is that these tips will help you nourish and nurture your body to better prepare it for the procedure and healing afterwards.
If you are considering a laparoscopy, please, please, please do your research and do your best to ensure it’s the right option for your situation, that you’re seeing an excision specialist and not getting ablation, and that you feel comfortable and confident with your surgeon and wellness team. You want to make sure that it’s done properly the first time to give you the best chance of seeing improvement afterwards. While it’s usually done via keyhole, it’s still a significant surgery that puts a big toll on your body and isn’t guaranteed to help (in some cases, poorly done surgeries can actually make things worse).
Don’t be like me and have to put your poor body through another surgery 8 weeks later because the first surgeon wasn’t qualified enough!
I ended up having two laparoscopies within a couple of months and I’m still not sure opting to try the surgical route was the right choice for me. Looking back, there’s more I could have tried first or at least more I could have researched about the side-effects and the actual surgery type. Before the surgeries my pain levels were completely under control and I was feeling really fit and healthy, but I was led to believe it was the logical next step to improve fertility. However my body really does not do well with conventional medications and over a year later I was still dealing with issues and hormone imbalances as a result. But all we can do is make the best choice based on the information we have at the time, and at least I have first hand experience to share all my tips with you!
Please don’t let this scare you though! All I’m saying is do your research as much as possible. Many others have seen massive improvements after surgery and I do believe it can be part of a holistic approach to easing pain and symptoms, so I hope this is the case for you!
Below is my own list, which I created from a mixture of research and trial and error during my own two surgeries. I did all of these things for my first laparoscopy, but not as many for the second one and I really regretted not being as diligent! As always, please remember that I am not a medical professional, and these are just tips from my own experience, but your needs may be different. Please let me know if there’s anything else you’d add!
What to wear:
- Soft, loose clothing that won’t rub or catch on your incision sites. I wore a loose t-shirt dress and a big comfy cardigan. Otherwise pants with a super soft band (yoga pants are good), and a loose top.
- Old undies with a low, soft band that will sit below your incision sites and not push on your belly.
- Slip on shoes so you can easily get them on without bending.
What to pack:
For the day:
- Phone charger (it can be a long wait!)
- eReader or book
- Warm socks (hospitals can be cold!)
- Lip balm
- Supplements if your hospital requests them
- De-Gas (to help relieve the bloating and trapped gas)
- Peppermints (ideally containing peppermint oil) to help with nausea
- Organic cotton sanitary pads. (I didn’t really need these, but better to have your own as the hospital ones are like a full pillow, and organic is always best against your skin.)
- Essential oils. I took a little roller with peppermint and citrus (diluted with a carrier oil). It helped with the nausea and I rubbed it on my tummy and under my ribs for the bloating. I’ve since discovered doTERRA DigestZen, which I’d also take if I was to have another surgery.
For an overnight stay:
- Soft, long nightie or long t-shirt
- Spare pair of old/soft band undies
- Spare change of clothes
- Slippers or slip on shoes
- Eye mask (you’ll want this for sleeping in hospital)
- Ear plugs ( you’ll definitely want these if you’re staying in hospital!)
- Soft, thick headband to keep the earplugs and eye mask in place, and to hide your hair if you feel icky!
- Face wipes so you can freshen up without getting up
- Water bottle (much easier than the tiny hospital cups)
- Peppermint tea to help with bloating and nausea
- Healthy snacks, like nuts, fruit, organic ginger lollies, dehydrated broth powder. Hospital food isn’t always the most nourishing, so it’s good to take your own food if possible.
For the car:
- Pillow to put between your belly and the seatbelt
- Bucket & towel in case you’re sick
- Peppermints to ease any nausea and help feel a little fresher
- Handy for home
Best to organise beforehand so they’re ready for when you get home!
- Body pillow to help get more comfortable in bed
- Spare pillows to raise you up in bed and help you sleep
- Diffuser & essential oils to promote a sense of calm and to help reduce nausea and improve sleep
- Vitamin E cream or oil for scars
- Magnesium spray (because you know how much I love this stuff) – just don’t get it on your incisions!
- Bone broth or concentrate to nourish and hydrate
- Herbal teas to soothe, heal, and hydrate
- Non-spill drink bottle so you can keep it with you on the couch and don’t have to stretch
- Healthy snacks and pre-prepared meals (fridge to belly in a few minutes was all I could manage in the first few days!)
- Natural pain relief is usually my preference where possible, but during my healing time I made sure to consistently take my prescribed painkillers. Your need rest and calm to heal and this is difficult if you’re in too much pain or too unsettled.
- New mattress. Seriously, if you’ve been thinking about a new mattress anyway, then definitely get one before your surgery! We got a king sized Koala mattress a few months later, and I wish I’d had it during my healing time!
- Drink lots of water in the week before so you’re well hydrated, it helps so much with healing. (Don’t underestimate how important this is. After my second surgery I couldn’t sit up, walk, or pee without throwing up and skyrocketing my pain, and one of the reasons it was so severe was due to dehydration.)
- Load up on lots of nutrients in the week before to really nourish your body and give it the ammo to heal – bone broth, soups, veggies, green smoothies, etc.
- Try adding collagen powder and coconut oil into your daily routine. Both are very healing and a great way to prepare your body.
- Rest, relax, and reduce stress as much as possible. (I know, I know, easier said than done!) Taking some time out, listening to music or meditations, and getting enough sleep are all helpful.
- Get lots of fresh air and sunshine if possible (but don’t get burnt!)
- Put everything you’ll need or want within easy reaching distance of your bed and couch, or wherever you plan to spend the most time. This means you don’t have to stretch to reach things. Although make sure you do get up regularly and walk around.
- Make some snacks, soups, and meals so you’ve got enough to keep you going for a while. Ideally in single serve glass containers so they’re super easy to prepare. Trust me, if it’s not easy, it’s not getting eaten!
Questions for the Surgeon:
- What stage is/was the endometriosis?
- Where was it located?
- Was it all removed?
- How recent were the adhesions?
- Was anything else was found? (Endometriomas, cysts, etc)
- What to expect for your next period?
- What is your chance of conceiving naturally?
How long before you can:
- remove the bandages
- get the stitches removed (if required)
- go back to work
- have sex
- have a bath
- swim in a pool / hot tub / beach
- sunbake / expose the wounds to sunlight
Request a medical certificate for yourself and your partner. Request a copy of all findings (if possible).
These things all helped me but I’ll keep updating this list as I learn more.
I’d love to hear what helped you or what you’d add!
About the Author
Laura McNight is a laughter loving beach babe and founder of the Facebook group “Easing Endo & IBS Naturally”. She writes, “I believe I’ve had endometriosis since I was 13, and definitely suffered from IBS issues from an early age, but I’m so happy to say that for the most part I no longer ‘suffer’ from them.
Natural remedies and lifestyle changes helped me ease my symptoms and get my life back, and I want to do everything I can to help others feel better too!”.