Diagnosed with Endometriosis and Pelvic Adhesions After Menopause
Dorran was diagnosed with endometriosis after menopause. Her history of gynecological surgeries includes treatment for multiple GYN conditions over the past 17 years, but she continued to have pain until she met Natalya Danilyants, MD, in 2015.
“In 1999, I had an open surgery, c-section style for fibroids,” Dorran said. “Then seven years later, in March 2006, I had a hysteroscopy procedure for fibroids and a cyst. I went into the hospital for a ruptured ovarian cyst. I was in so much pain I couldn’t move.”
Even after that surgery, Dorran was still in constant pain.
“I followed up with my gynecologist, but he couldn’t find anything wrong,” Dorran said. “He diagnosed me with fibromyalgia, but that had nothing to do with the pain I was experiencing. In 2005, I became pre-menopausal. When I had the surgery the following year, I wasn’t having a menstrual cycle at all, so I thought it was weird that I was having cramps, and that they were sporadic.”
Still experiencing pain, nine years later, Dorran had another procedure.
“In 2014 I had another hysteroscopy and they said I had adhesions, polyps and my cervix was closed,” she said. “I didn’t understand why I was always in pain. Sometimes people are not persistent enough. I was sick for a while. I went through ovarian cancer testing. I was so stressed, wondering if the pain was a figment of my imagination.”
Everything changed when Dorran met Dr. Danilyants.
“I explained what I was going through to my internist, and he told me that his wife recently had a procedure with Dr. Danilyants,” Dorran said. “Given what I was experiencing, he recommended I see her.”
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Getting Diagnosed with Endometriosis
“Endometriosis is undetectable unless seen through laparoscopy, and it turns out, that’s what I had,” Dorran said.
Dorran most likely had endometriosis for years before menopause, as it is unlikely to develop after the onset of menopause. Endometriosis is fueled by estrogen. After menopause, estrogen production diminishes. However, women with advanced stage endometriosis can often have long-term pelvic pain associated with the damage that endometriosis caused before menopause.
On average, women with endometriosis often wait a decade for a proper diagnosis. Even though many women start to experience symptoms in their teens, many do not see a gynecologist for the first time until their 20s, and it is rare for a woman to seek out a specialist at that age unless she is in severe pain. But that pain is subjective and is often dismissed even by medical professionals as a normal part of menstruation.
Delaying diagnosis and treatment gives endometriosis time to do a lot of damage. Pelvic adhesions can form due to the inflammation from the endometrial implants, and fertility can be compromised. If diagnosed and treated early, there is a higher chance that treatment will be more effective and there will be less damage to the reproductive system.
Choosing A Minimally Invasive Hysterectomy
For most cases of endometriosis, excision surgery is the most effective treatment. But for some cases of endometriosis in severe advanced stages, a hysterectomy that removes the ovaries may also be necessary to relieve symptoms. While a hysterectomy does not cure endometriosis, removing organs that have been damaged due to pelvic adhesions and inflammation can alleviate pain.
“I’m 61. I don’t need these organs. I had a complete laparoscopic hysterectomy,” Dorran said. “After surgery with Dr. Danilyants I could tell this time was different. I don’t like taking medicine. I had painkillers when I left. I got home from the surgery, I had one when I got home and that was it. I had surgery on a Thursday, rested on Friday and on Saturday I was up and doing normal stuff. Now I feel like I could run a mile. I don’t feel like I just had surgery.”
“When I was getting ready to come back to work from surgery, I had to get my hair done. The hairdresser was amazed that I could lean back. You can see the difference after a minimally invasive hysterectomy. When I had my open surgery and had to go back to work, it took forever not to feel pain. Even the difference of walking outside, you put your foot on the cement versus walking around the house in your slippers and it’s jarring. It was very different this time.”
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Life After a Laparoscopic Hysterectomy at CIGC
“I feel so light now,” Dorran said. “Before I felt tired, slow and mentally drained. I was going through the motions. I’m a senior manager. I don’t have time to stop. I’m working 12-hour days and when I come home, I have elder care. It was just a mental drain. All of my activities: work, elder care, none of that feels as heavy anymore. Nothing is slowing me down now. Dr. Danilyants has given me my life back. I registered to take a class online. Now it doesn’t seem like I’m juggling a lot of things. I feel jubilant!”
Just before the surgery, Dorran traveled to Manila, Philippines, unsure of how she would feel after her surgery.
“I didn’t know if I would be able to be as active afterward,” she said. “I had enough ibuprofen with me. That was the longest trip I’ve taken in the last two years. But now I can do anything! I started taking classes in CAD design. I’m an IT professional, but I like fashion, I like design, so I thought after I retire, I would like to freelance as a CAD designer.”
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CIGC specialists are available at two locations in the D.C. metro area. Virginia patients can visit the Reston, VA. Our Maryland office is located in Rockville, MD. Saturday appointments are available in both Rockville and Reston. Or visit CIGC in our Montclair, NJ or Manhattan, NY locations
CIGC is dedicated to providing information and materials for women to help navigate the complicated health care system. The CIGC founders, minimally invasive GYN surgical specialists Dr. Paul MacKoul, MD, and Dr. Natalya Danilyants, MD, developed their advanced GYN surgical techniques using only two small incisions with patients’ well-being in mind.
Their personalized approach to care helps patients understand their condition and the recommended treatment so they can have confidence from the very start. Our surgeons have performed over 25,000 GYN procedures and are constantly finding better ways to improve outcomes for patients.