How will I know if I have endometriosis?

Dr. Kevin W. Windom, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrician & Gynecologist)

The only way to diagnose endometriosis is by laparoscopic surgery. If I have a patient with the symptoms of endometriosis I will do an ultrasound and if it is normal then I will try birth control pills to help remedy their symptoms and if this is not successful then I proceed to a diagnostic laparoscopy.

There are several symptoms that may alert you that you have endometriosis, the growth of tissue like that which lines the uterus outside the uterus. For example, there may be bleeding or spotting outside your period, pain during or after sex, unusually painful cramps or unexplained lower back pain, or digestive problems. Some women have none of these symptoms but find they are unable to become pregnant. A doctor may look at your personal and family history—some characteristics, like age over 30, short but heavy periods, or a mother who had endometriosis, will make it more likely that is your problem. A pelvic exam, checking for tissue growths, and imaging tests like ultrasound can also be helpful . Laparoscopy is generally used to make a firm diagnosis, however; a thin scope called a laparoscope is inserted in the abdominal cavity through a small incision and the overgrowth of tissue should be visible. The laparoscope can also take a sample of the tissue for testing. Once the diagnosis of endometriosis is confirmed and the extent of the condition determined, your doctor can recommend steps to treat it and relieve your symptoms.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.