Endometriosis Treatment | Diagnosis
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 happened.
Clinical diagnostic tests for endometriosis include:
- Pelvic examination. During a pelvic exam, your doctor may feel hand (palpates) areas on your thighs abnormally, such as cysts on your genitals or scars on your back. It is usually not possible to detect small areas of endometriosis without causing a cyst to form
- Ultrasound. This test uses high-frequency sound waves to create images inside your body. To take pictures, a device called a transducer is pressed into your abdomen or inserted into your vagina (transvaginal ultrasound). Both of these types of ultrasound can be performed to get a good view of the genitals. A routine ultrasound imaging test will not tell your doctor for sure that you have endometriosis, but it can identify endometriosis-related cysts (endometriomas).
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI is a test that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed images of your organs and tissues. For others, an MRI is helpful in planning the operation, providing your surgeon with detailed information about the location and size of the endometrium implant.
- Laparoscopy. In some cases, your doctor may refer you to a surgeon for a procedure that allows the surgeon to look inside your abdomen (laparoscopy). While undergoing general anesthesia, your surgeon performs a small incision near your navel and inserts a small observation device (laparoscope), which seeks out signs of endometrial tissue outside the uterus.
Laparoscopy can provide information about the location, size, and size of endometrial implants. Your surgeon may take a tissue sample (biopsy) for further testing. Usually, with proper surgical planning, your surgeon can completely cure endometriosis during laparoscopy so that you need only one operation.