As a fellow endometriosis warrior, I have become passionate about the topic of endometriosis surgery. What research has concluded on this topic is complete excision of abnormal tissue is the Gold Standard treatment by cutting out all of the disease at its roots. I want to yell this from a mountain but the surgeon performing this procedure needs to be trained in disease recognition, distribution, and removal. This is where you need to be an advocate and ensure this question is asked before any surgery being performed. It is common for endometriosis to be missed by general gynecology or surgeon, most commonly because they do not have advanced skills or training for excision. Also, this person should perform a high volume of endometriosis surgeries and be comfortable with treating deep infiltrating endometriosis (DIE). Keep in mind this is different from having a procedure to diagnose you with endometriosis. Unfortunately, many women have even undergone a hysterectomy and still suffer. Did you know endometriosis lesions can be found on the bowel, lung, sciatic nerve, or other locations?
Another important factor to keep in mind for treatment is that medication (hormonal treatments) will be used to alleviate symptoms but do not stop the progression of endometriosis. When my endometriosis was first discovered they did a procedure called ablation. The goal of this procedure is to reduce “burn” the surface aspect of endometriosis lesions. The unfortunate part of this technique is the disease often still lives under the surface and that part is still present causing issues.
Treatment to eradicate endometriosis
Eradication seeks to restore normal anatomy and preserve organs when possible. The good news about this method is the recurrence rates are low when this procedure is done by surgeons skilled in identifying all forms of endometriosis, remember this is key! Complete excision has the potential to offer a significant improvement in sexual function, quality of life, and pelvic pain. Keep in mind you must have a team approach to pelvic pain when working to reduce and eliminate pain. I do have pelvic floor physical therapy monthly (at times more) and have found significant improvement in my symptoms. Also, I do have monthly acupuncture ( if I lived closer to my acupuncturist I would be there more often) and have found when combined with other home cares I have better control of this disease. It is my hope that you will advocate for your healthcare before making any surgical decisions for endometriosis.
My favorite endometriosis resource is Nancy’s Nook. The amount of education available is amazing. This disease is near and dear to me, I am here to be a source of support and guidance if you find yourself lost while going through this diagnosis.