Endometriosis Symptoms and Diagnosis (cont.)
Although considered an invasive procedure, a biopsy of peritoneal tissue (the tissue that lines the abdominal cavity) during laparoscopy to confirm the presence of transplanted endometrium is recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in their most recent practice guidelines update. They state that only an experienced surgeon familiar with the changeable appearances of endometriosis should rely on visual inspection to make the diagnosis.
Gynecologists and reproductive endocrinologists (gynecologists who specialize in infertility and hormonal conditions) are the health care professionals with the experience to evaluate and treat this medical problem.
Pain is the most common symptom of endometriosis. Others may include:
- severe menstrual cramps
- excessive menstrual bleeding
- pelvic pain apart from menstrual cramps
- pain during or after sexual penetration
- painful bowel movements
- pain in the pelvic region with exercise
- painful pelvic examinations
Perhaps the biggest challenge that health care professionals face in accurately diagnosing endometriosis is the fact that the condition can present itself in many different ways. It also can be difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms can be caused by conditions other than endometriosis.