If you have symptoms of endometriosis, you are not alone. 1 in 10 women of reproductive age in the UK suffer from endometriosis¹. It is the second most common gynaecological condition in the UK yet its cause is not known.
You will probably want to know with certainty whether you have endometriosis or not if you have some symptoms. Scans, blood tests and internal examinations are not conclusive. Endometriosis can only be diagnosed by laparoscopy. But how is laparoscopy performed, who performs it, and how long does it take? In this blog, we aim to answer all of your questions and concerns around endometriosis and its diagnosis using laparoscopy.
Endometriosis is when tissue similar to the lining of your womb, called the endometrium, grows outside of a woman’s womb. Endometriosis is often painful but there are effective treatments that may relieve the symptoms of endometriosis.
Endometriosis can significantly impact a woman’s life in a variety of ways. Symptoms of endometriosis include:
Diagnostic laparoscopy for endometriosis is typically performed under general anaesthetic. It uses a small telescope with a light and camera at the end, called a laparoscope. Small cuts are made near your belly button to allow the laparoscope to be passed through so that your doctor can look inside your abdomen and pelvis for endometriosis. Carbon dioxide gas is used to inflate your stomach to help your surgeon to see your organs properly.
During a laparoscopy for endometriosis, various procedures can also be performed to destroy or remove the endometriosis and endometriotic cysts and to release scar tissue.
Diagnostic laparoscopy for endometriosis is typically performed under general anaesthetic and takes 30 to 60 minutes. The time it takes will depend on if your surgeon is able to treat the endometriosis at the same time.
A gynaecologist or surgeon performs a laparoscopy for endometriosis.
Recovery after a diagnostic laparoscopy is quite fast. It is a day case procedure which means you should be able to go home on the same day.
As a general anaesthetic is used, you may feel a bit groggy, nauseous and disorientated. You will need someone to drive you home and preferably to stay with you overnight until its effects have worn off.
You may feel some pain and discomfort in your lower stomach for a couple of days. You might also have bloating, cramping and shoulder pain caused by the gas remaining in your body. You can take pain relief.
Often ladies feel tired after a laparoscopy as their body is using their energy to heal itself. They may also experience emotional ups and downs. Our advice is to be patient and gentle with yourself.
You should be back to your normal daily activities within five days.
At Ramsay, we understand you may be feeling anxious when you have a diagnostic laparoscopy. Our compassionate staff are here to support you at all times.
We offer rapid access to appointments at your local and conveniently located Ramsay hospital so won’t have to wait for an initial consultant or your diagnostic laparoscopy. Our expert surgeons routinely perform diagnostic laparoscopy for endometriosis, so you can rest assured you are in safe hands.
You can find out more about laparoscopy to diagnose endometriosis at Ramsay, or get in touch with us if you’d like more information or you want to book an appointment to see one of our specialists.