On September 10th 2021 I had my first ever laparoscopic surgery to diagnose and remove endometriosis.
Although endometriosis and fibroid removal was a large part of my surgery, I also had some treatment and investigation in my gi system (through laparoscopy), bladder and uterus. Today I thought I would specifically focus on my laparoscopy aftercare, in hopes that I can help any of you if you are having one some time soon. I had two friends, Bec and Liv, who had recently had endo surgery when I had mine and I relied pretty heavily on their experiences when organising what I needed post op. Having their support and knowledge I was absolutely invaluable; thanks guys. So hopefully I can be your Bec and Liv today. Let's get in to it, here are all the things that I found helpful to recover from my laparoscopy.
Whoever invented heat packs needs some sort of award. Chances are, if your doctors suspect you have endometriosis you already have a pretty close relationship with heat packs. Heat packs will not only be incredibly helpful for the pain and discomfort associated with the actual site of your laparoscopy but also with gas pain. In order to best see everything during a laparoscopy, your surgeon will put some gas inside your abdominal cavity. Most patients get referred pain (caused from nerve irritation from the CO2 gas) in their shoulders that normally lasts 1-2 days. Heat packs will be extremely helpful in relieving this.
All pain and everyone is different. I use heat packs for some types of pain and ice packs for others. I would recommend having both on hand.
Can you tell I like ice packs?
These bad boys have been a God send for me since I have experienced bad bloating from both gastroparesis and endometriosis and they certainly haven't disappointed post op! These will also help with your shoulder pain, it's a win-win! My favourites are simethicone based tablets but have a chat with your surgeon to see what they recommend for you.
Peppermint tea is the final part to my gas busting trio! It seems simple but I have been such a peppermint tea convert since I have had big problems with bloating. It just never disappoints!
It's normal to experience vaginal bleeding up to one month post laparoscopy so make sure you have your go to period products on hand. If you're staying overnight in hospital don't forget to pack them!
If you've been following me for a while you are probably aware of my love affair with TENS machines. But if you're new, I'll give you a quick recap. TENS machines deliver small electrical impulses to the affected area, disrupting pain receptors in your brain. This can help in reducing pain and relaxing muscles. They're magic. It's no secret that my favourite TENS machine is the Noha device from Ovira, it's portable and teeny tiny so you can wear it with anything! My Noha was life saving post op for me, I wore it while in hospital for five days after my surgery and have worn it every day since I have been home as well. If you are thinking of getting a TENS machine and have private health insurance I would highly recommend talking to your insurance company to see if they offer any rebate for TENS devices.
This one obviously comes down to personal preference but I know that some of my friends have opted to use scar cream for post op scars. One of my best friends has two skin grafts on her foot and swears by Strataderm scar therapy gel. If you are concerned about scaring I would definitely chat to your surgeon as they may have a particular one they recommend for your particular needs.
Movement helps with everything. You will be given a time frame to return to physio and exercise from your surgeon so don't go against what they tell you but do get some light movement in when you feel up to it. Go for a short walk up and down your hallway if that is all you feel up to, I guarantee it will help with your pain and comfort. I also do regular Child's Pose throughout the day to help stretch out my body. Do what you feel up to when you feel up to it, it is not a race.
Do you have anything that you found helpful post op that I haven't mentioned? I would love to know what helped you the most!
Take your time, trust your body and trust your doctor. You've got this!
Life is tough, but so are we.