Dr Swift operates a Gold Coast clinic and specialises in laparoscopic surgical techniques for fertility treatments, hysterectomy, benign ovarian and tubal disease, prolapse and endometriosis.
In laparoscopic surgery, slender instruments are inserted through the belly button. The uterus is pulled back into its proper place and reattached to the supporting ligaments using permanent stitches.
Below is more detailed information on each of these.
In the Total Laparoscopic Hysterectomy the laparoscope is used to remove the entire uterus from the abdomen via small incisions. The ovaries may or may not be removed at the same time.
Like other minimally invasive surgeries, this procedure is designed to cause less pain than abdominal hysterectomy with the added benefit of a shorter recovery period.
The procedure requires general anaesthesia, and a hospital stay of 1 to 2 days. Recovery before returning to work is usually 3 to 4 weeks.
Pelvic Prolapse or Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse means that the uterus and/or the vagina have fallen down from its normal position in the pelvis. This prolapse is probably caused by injuries sustaining during childbirth, aging, a woman’s tissue composition, chronic coughing or heavy lifting.
In addition to sagging of the bladder into the vagina (cystocele), pelvic prolapse can result in bulging of the rectum into the vagina (rectocele), and/or bulging of the intestine into the top of the vagina (enterocele). An urethrocele or decreased support of the tube leading out of the bladder is commonly seen with a cystocele.
If you have not had a hysterectomy, the uterus (womb) may drop to varying degrees (uterine prolapse). Mild pelvic prolapse requires no treatment.
If treatment is necessary, it is best to treat all of the support problems simultaneously to get the best long-term results. Pelvic prolapse is caused by tears in a tissue called fascia. Fascia is a strong canvas-like tissue that supports the bladder, vagina, and rectum. It is also found in many other areas of the body.
Factors that increase the likelihood of pelvic prolapse involve:
- multiple pregnancy with vaginal delivery
- chronic coughing (such as with smoking or chronic bronchitis)
- heavy lifting and frequent straining
- hormone imbalance
Lifestyle changes may reduce the risk of pelvic prolapse or decrease the symptoms.
Symptoms resulting from pelvic prolapse can include:
- sensation of heaviness in the vagina
- pelvic and low back pain
- difficulty in passing urine
- frequent urinary tract infections
- vaginal irritation
- difficulty having a bowel movement
- the feeling that something is coming out of the vagina
- painful sexual intercourse
If surgery is necessary for treatment of pelvic prolapse, several different procedures can be performed. The choice of procedure(s) depends on the specific problem(s), any associated problems, and the preference of your physician.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
The ovaries are the organs that produce the eggs in the female reproductive system. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a syndrome in which the ovaries are enlarged and have several fluid-filled sacs or cysts.
These cysts may look like a string of pearls or a pearl necklace. A woman can develop one cyst or many cysts. Polycystic ovaries are usually 1.5 to 3 times larger than normal. Women with PCOS may experience a number of other symptoms as well. PCOS is a leading cause of infertility and is the most common reproductive syndrome in women of childbearing age.
Some of the other symptoms of PCOS include
- infrequent menstrual periods, no menstrual periods, and/or irregular bleeding;
- infrequent or no ovulation;
- increased serum levels of male hormones, such as testosterone;
- inability to get pregnant within six to 12 months of unprotected sexual intercourse (infertility);
- pelvic pain that lasts longer than six months;
- weight gain or obesity;
- diabetes, over-production of insulin, and inefficient use of insulin in the body;
- abnormal lipid levels (such as high or low cholesterol levels, and high triglycerides);
- high blood pressure (over 140/90);
- excess growth of hair on the face, chest, stomach, thumbs, or toes;
- male-pattern baldness or thinning hair;
- acne, oily skin, or dandruff;
- patches of thickened and dark brown or black skin on the neck,
- groin, underarms, or skin folds; and
- skin tags, or tiny excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area.
No one knows the exact cause of PCOS, but it is likely inherited. PCOS can negatively affect fertility since it can prevent ovulation. Some women with PCOS have menstrual periods, but do not ovulate.
The uterus is made up of layered linings of tissue and muscle. The innermost layer is called the endometrium.
Endometriosis is a condition where the innermost layer of uterus-endometrium, grows in locations outside the uterus. Endometriosis may cause adhesions on the uterus. The uterus can become stuck to the ovaries, fallopian tubes and bowel. Although patients experience extreme pain, some women with endometriosis, do not experience any symptoms (asymptomatic). Usually it causes pain around the time of your period but, for some women, the pain is almost constant.
The symptoms of endometriosis vary widely from woman to woman and the severity of symptoms is not necessarily related to the severity of the endometriosis. Symptoms depend on the extent and location of the endometrial implants and the affected structures. While some women have few or no symptoms, others experience severe and incapacitating pain that recurs each month for many years.
Many women think that painful periods are normal. If you have bad period pain, you should see your doctor.
- period pain (dysmenorrhoea)
- pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia)
- pelvic and abdominal pain outside of menstruation
- abnormal bleeding – including heavy bleeding, clotting, prolonged bleeding, irregular bleeding, premenstrual spotting
- bowel disturbances – including painful bowel motions, diarrhoea, constipation, bleeding from the bowel
- difficulty in getting pregnant
- painful urination
- lower back, thigh and/or leg pain
- premenstrual syndrome
The anticipation of recurrent pain or discomfort each month may also lead to feelings of anxiety, stress and depression. It is important to acknowledge these emotional difficulties that may arise from endometriosis.
Treatment for endometriosis depends on a number of factors including:
- the severity of symptoms,
- the extent of the endometriosis,
- the woman’s age and
- her outcome requirements (e.g. reduction in pain, improved fertility).
Diagnosis relies on laparoscopy. Medical treatment is essential for this condition. Hormones can usually treat endometriosis, sometimes surgery may be required. Contact our Gold Coast clinic today.