Endometriosis is when the inner lining of the uterus grows on the outer surface of the uterus or anywhere else in the body, which usually causes extreme pain in the uterus and pelvic area. Endometriosis has a variety of clinical symptoms and signs which makes it particularly difficult to diagnose in patients. Some patients may present with a lot of pain and infertility, whereas other patients may have no symptoms at all and the endometriosis is only found via an unrelated illness. By diagnosis in the form of excluding symptoms, doctors are able to diagnose patients with endometriosis.
Symptoms Of Endometriosis
The symptoms associated with endometriosis can be seen in a variety of other diseases as well, thus it makes it rather difficult to diagnose only using the symptoms. It is important to know which symptoms may be experienced to give you an indication of when to visit your doctor. Most patients experience painful period cramps, painful sex or pain after intercourse, diarrhoea/constipation during the menstruation period, low energy levels, irregular menstruation or heavy flow periods, painful urination or defecation (bowel movements) during the menstrual period and/or spotting in between menstrual periods.
Can Endometriosis Be Detected Using Ultrasound?
Usually, endometriosis needs to be diagnosed via surgery because no image, laboratory tests or external procedure can successfully diagnose endometriosis. Ultrasounds and MRIs, respectively, can view the organs in the body via sound waves and magnetic waves. These are able to assist with certain signs associated with endometriosis but surgery is the holy grail of diagnosis of endometriosis.
Surgical Detection of Endometriosis
There are two surgical procedures that will assist a doctor in diagnosing endometriosis. This includes a laparoscopy and a biopsy. During a laparoscopy procedure, a small cut will be made on the stomach area and a tube will be inserted into the stomach with a camera. This will allow the doctor to have a visual representation of the tissue and organs. The doctor will then be able to see if there are any growths on the uterus to indicate endometriosis. During this procedure, a biopsy might be taken of any suspicious tissue that may resemble or indicate endometriosis. A few cells may be scraped off, put in formaldehyde fixative and sent off to the laboratory for testing. At the histopathology laboratory, a pathologist will then view the processed sample under a microscope and generate a report stating the diagnosis, whether it is or isn’t endometriosis.
Treatment Of Endometriosis
Usually, it is treated with hormonal treatment and pain management. During the menstrual cycle, the endometrium (the lining inside the uterus) will thicken and then be removed from the body via menstruation. During this thickening process, the endometriosis tissue will also be affected by the hormones and cause pain. This, hormonal treatment, such as oral contraceptives, is the first choice to control the hormones. Progestins will stop menstruation and stop tissue growth. Surgery is also an option to remove the endometrial tissue but this is very uncommon and only a temporary solution.