Endo diaries: what your first periods are like after excision surgery

So you’ve had your long-awaited laparoscopy to remove you endometriosis.

You can’t wait for your next period to see what life is like without pain.

Then finally that day rolls around, only to discover it’s a far cry from an enjoyable experience.

It’s like taking your run down car to the mechanic only to break down half-way down the street, the radiator’s over-heating and oil’s spilling everywhere.

Something no-one really tells you, is what to expect with your first periods after endometriosis excision surgery. 

So in this blog of my new “endo diaries” series, I’m going to tell you exactly what my experience has been like for the past two periods.

In a nut shell, most people will experience their next few periods to be:

  • Heavier than usual
  • Painful
  • Pain may be drawn out 

I was fortunate enough that friends pre-warned me that the first few were going to be… well… a little bit shit. But without their forewarning, I wouldn’t have known what I was in for.

Period 1

For me, the first period post surgery was definitely different. Interestingly there wasn’t a lot of pain leading up to the period. Even when I started bleeding, I only had mild cramps and was convinced it the surgery must have worked this fast. 

But come night the cramps started creeping in and I had to take some OTC anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). 

The bleeding was bright red. Like someone had cut my arm and let it bleed out kind-of-red. Fucking scary when you’re not used to it. Not even any clots. Just one big flow of blood. 

I felt crampy for a couple of days. But I was pretty right after that. 

Period 2

In the lead up I was convinced I was actually pregnant. It’s not uncommon for women to fall pregnant the next month after excision surgery. 

Around day 8 after ovulation I noticed a tiny bit of spotting on my underwear and thought it was implantation bleeding. 

For four days leading up to my period I was really crampy.

My breasts were also a little tender.

“Was I also getting nausea?” I thought to myself at any given sign.

I also noticed “lightning crotch”; a sharp radiating pain that shoots down your vaginal canal. Yet another supposed sign of early pregnancy. 

And herein lies the furstrating thing about the blurred lines between early pregnancy signs and endo. 

Of course I WANTED to be pregnant. And the micro-analysing of every thought and feeling was actually driving me crazy. 

Suddenly, no cramps at all for two days. I also had an abnormal amount of energy around this time. Usually before my period I start fading away like a Furby who’s batteries are dying. 

On day 26 of my cycle (a little early) I woke up to a sexual dream. I knew it then that I was about to get my period. For some reason I always get a sexual dream on day 1 of my period.

I still can’t explain this, given all your hormones drop on day 1 (as opposed to ovulatory sexual arousal being due to a spike in testosterone. And yes. That’s also the reason men are so turned on every morning when their testosterone is at its highest).

I took some herbal anti-inflammatories and I was pretty much fine the whole day. Around 10pm the cramps started creeping in and to my delight my Ovira TENS machine had also arrived when I got home. Talk about good timing. 

I really wanted to forgo NSAIDs this month. And with the Ovira‘s settings ramped up to its highest, I was able to get a full night’s sleep; a rare comfort for me on any first night of my period. 

Day 2 I was feeling crampy, which dragged on all day. Dulled by herbal anti-inflammatories and high doses of magnesium citrate, but still definitely there. 

What alarmed me though was just how heavy the bleeding was. Unlike many endo girls, full-blown menorrhagia isn’t something I usually suffered from. 

But this. 

This was heavy. 

That day we had to drive to Melbourne for a funeral (always the best timing). So I decided to go back to my menstrual cup incase my cotton pads soaked through. And yep, even the cup leaked through too.

And like period 1, that night it was like a murder-scene. At one point when I wiped, there were also blobs of coagulated blood that freaked me out. 

Fortunately I had some ‘Shepherd’s purse’ in my dispensary (a herb we use for heavy bleeding) so I took a shot of that before going to bed. 

I still had some mild cramping for which the Ovira was able to disguise until I fell asleep. 

I slept for 10 hours. 

I felt depleted. 

No doubt due to losing so much blood.

(I actually started writing this as I lay in bed wondering about what other women’s experiences were like).

The bleeding was still bright red but tapered off. Rather than a toilet bowl of Tarantino like the day before, it slowed to the rate you’d expect from a blood-rule on the footy pitch.

Surprisingly though, once I was out of bed I felt pretty good. I even tidied the house. Just like my energy leading up to this period, I’ve been rather happy with how less lethargic I’ve been. I would attribute this to a myriad of factors such as taking b vitamins, P-lift, avoiding dairy, exercising more and a few other naturopathic things.

So why does all of this happen and is it normal?

Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of healing going on when you’ve just had excision surgery. 

For those not familiar, this consists of four key-holes made into your lower abdominal wall. They then excise (cut out) the endometriosis. For me it was behind my left ovary on my utero-sacral ligament and my bladder. I also had a 4.5cm pendunculated fibroid removed from the top of my uterus, as well as some bad adhesions freed up from an appendectomy 12 years ago (no doubt a major factor in my history of SIBO). 

So healing doesn’t just happen over night. 

Based on other’s personal stories, it seems to take around 3 periods to start to calm down. 

I must say though, even though the pain has been drawn out and uncomfortable. It still hasn’t been as full blown as some past horror experiences. As I’m also taking herbs and nutrients to lift my progesterone, I’ve not had any PMS. 

Given the amount of blood loss, I’ll be looking towards eating iron-dense foods and drinking strong nettle tea today to get my iron back up. 

This cycle I’m going to be taking a TCM formula and castor oil packs for reducing pelvic congestion, which came recommended by my Naturopath friend and mentor Kate Harrison from

I feel so fortunate to be in my Naturopathic community with such a condition, as we can help navigate these things together and learn from each other. We always say, we can’t treat ourselves. 

If you enjoyed this blog, please feel free to share with anyone who needs it. 

Let me know if there are any other topics you’d like me to discuss. 

Jade x


  1. Thanks for this, Jade! I’m 4.5 weeks post-lap and am having a similar experience. That first one was pretty rough, even for someone “used to” endo pain. Have you had luck with TCM? I have adeno too and saw some early research on Bai Shao and Gan Cao helping.

    • Hi Danielle,

      Sorry for this very late reply! It’s been a while since I checked the comments. I hope you’re on the other side of it now.

      But yes it’s pretty rough for a while.

      Yeah I have tried TCM and incorporate some formulas into my own patients’ protocols as well. We have a lot of overlap with some herbs.

      Hope you’re going okay now x

  2. Elizabeth Walsh

    What happened for period 3 and the ones after? I’m in the middle of period 2 post-surgery and it’s the worst I’ve ever experienced.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      The periods definitely take a while to settle out (in my own experience anyway). They became regular pretty quickly but were still very painful. However I have some patients where their pain gets better within a few periods. So everyone’s different.

      Hope you’re recovering okay x

  3. Hi there,
    Thanks for you blog.
    Can i ask what herbal anti inflammatories you take and how was your 3rd period after surgery? My 1st two were early and heavy but third us late

    • Hi Sara,

      Yes for sure. I have posted everything I used in my instagram story highlights @jadewalkerhealth if you want to check that out. Lots of videos explaining it all. Also join my facebook group Natural Medicine for Endometriosis where I talk about things I reccommend too.

      I’m trying to remember now exactly what my 3rd period was like. I think it was normal on the bleeding side of things, and on time. But still very painful. But based on all of my patients I see it seems to vary a lot across the board.

      Hope you’re going okay xx

  4. 1 week post-op and im suppose to get my period in7 days….Im curious if it will come at the same time or later?

  5. Hi,

    I did a laparoscopy 3 weeks ago and I’m on my first period now. I was excited for my endo pain to reduce however it hasn’t. Luckily I found this post, so it gives me hope it’ll get better in the next few months. What bothers me the most is for 10 days before my period I get severe cramping. They last for 20-30 mins and come and go throughout the day. It also happens when I have bowel movements, after sexual intercourse and excessive (throughout my whole menstrual cycle). should I expect this pain to reduce?

  6. Hey what sort of herbs were you/are you taking? I’m looking into something to help regulate my hormones as I seem to spot for 3-5 days before and after my period which stresses me out as I’m TTC! I’ve also just had a laparoscopy to remove endo x

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