To diagnose endometriosis and other conditions that can cause pelvic pain, your doctor will ask you to describe your symptoms, including the location of your pain and when it occurs.
Tests to check for physical clues of endometriosis include:
Apr. 02, 2013
- Pelvic exam. During a pelvic exam, your doctor manually feels (palpates) areas in your pelvis for abnormalities, such as cysts on your reproductive organs or scars behind your uterus. Often it's not possible to feel small areas of endometriosis, unless they've caused a cyst to form.
- Ultrasound. This test uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the inside of your body. To capture the images, a device called a transducer is either pressed against your abdominal skin or inserted into your vagina (transvaginal ultrasound). Both types of ultrasound may be done to get the best view of your reproductive organs. Ultrasound imaging won't definitively tell your doctor whether you have endometriosis, but it can identify cysts associated with endometriosis (endometriomas).
- Laparoscopy. Medical management is usually tried first. But to be certain you have endometriosis, your doctor may refer you to a surgeon to look inside your abdomen for signs of endometriosis using a surgical procedure called laparoscopy. While you're under general anesthesia, your surgeon makes a tiny incision near your navel and inserts a slender viewing instrument (laparoscope), looking for endometrial tissue outside the uterus. He or she may take samples of tissue (biopsy). Laparoscopy can provide information about the location, extent and size of the endometrial implants to help determine the best treatment options.
- Endometriosis. The National Women's Health Information Center. http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/endometriosis.html. Accessed March 5, 2013.
- Schenken RS. Pathogenesis, clinical features, and diagnosis of endometriosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 5, 2013.
- Frequently asked questions. Gynecological problems FAQ013. Endometriosis. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq013.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130305T1348596508. Accessed March 5, 2013.
- Pain management of endometriosis. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/About_ACOG/News_Room/News_Releases/2010/Pain_Management_of_Endometriosis. Accessed March 5, 2013.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins — Obstetrics. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 114: Management of endometriosis. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2010;116:223.
- What is assisted reproductive technology? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/art/index.htm. Accessed March 5, 2013.
- Schenken RS. Overview of the treatment of endometriosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 5, 2013.
- Schrager S, et al. Evaluation and treatment of endometriosis. American Family Physician. 2012;87:107.
- Pearce CL, et al. Association between endometriosis and risk of histological subtypes of ovarian cancer: A pooled analysis of case-control studies. The Lancet Oncology. 2012;13:385.
- Gallenberg MM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 8, 2013.
- Bakkum-Gamez JN (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 13, 2013.
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