Diagnosis of Endometriosis
Endometriosis affects around 1/10 women during their reproductive years (around 16-49), with a 3 of 4 of those diagnosed experience chronic over the course of these years. While period pain and cramping is expected, sufferers of endometriosis will experience a much more intense pain before and during their period, as well as additional pain and ongoing issues.
Symptoms and signs of endometriosis
Endometriosis is when cells usually found in the uterine lining are found outside of the uterus on outer organs and tissues, such as the ovaries, bladder or bowel. They shed in the same was as the uterus lining, but do not have anywhere to escape the body, which can lead to several issues.
While not all women experience the same signals, such as pain, as each other, there are a few signs that suggest endometriosis.
- Pain in the pelvis, lower abdomen area, rectum or vagina
- Pain during intercourse or defecation
- Abnormal menstruation, heavy or very painful menstruation
- Abdominal fullness or cramping
If you experience any of these symptoms you should speak to your doctor to determine the possibility of endometriosis.
In order to diagnose endometriosis an individual needs to reach out to their doctor to discuss what pain they’re experiencing and how frequently, as well as discuss past health problems and family history. Specialists can then perform a physical exam to determine the exact location of the pain or any targeted areas of discomfort. If a doctor suspects endometriosis, then more tests will usually have to be performed.
Tests for endometriosis diagnoses
There are a few ways that doctors can test for possible endometriosis.
A doctor will manually feel around the pelvic area to spot any abnormalities such as scarring or cysts around your organs. Small cells, however, may not be able to be determined with a physical exam, unless they have formed cysts.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create a detailed image of the pelvic area, including organs, tissues and cells. This can help the doctor determine the location and scope of the endometriosis cells to better plan for possible surgery.
Signs of endometriosis cells can be found on an ultrasound, which uses high-frequency sound waves to produce an image of the pelvic area. While this can’t confirm endometriosis completely it can help the doctor spot any cells surrounding the uterus and pelvic area.
This is a minor surgery where a doctor will cut a small incision in your abdomen to see in and around the uterus. The surgeon will use a small viewing instrument, a laparoscope, to investigate the area and determine abnormal cells
With a laparoscopy your doctor may take cells our to further testing, however, if identified a doctor can treat the endometriosis during this surgery, so you won’t have to come back for a second surgery.
Endometriosis can be a chronic and debilitating condition and can sometimes result in possible infertility. If you are concerned about strong pelvic pains or abnormal periods, speak to your GP or specialist doctor as soon as possible. For questions call 1300 851 968.