08 Apr 2015
How Do I Know I Have Endometriosis?
The short answer is: you don’t know, unless you have a laparoscopy or other surgical procedure to either visually confirm the presence of endometriosis or to test the tissue with the lesion. That is how my diagnosis was performed.
If you do have surgery and your doctor finds endometriosis, the medical community will classify it based on a system developed by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in 1979!
It is an unfortunate tragedy that the symptoms of endometriosis are so similar to other conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease, bladder pain and irritable bowel syndrome. Many women are misdiagnosed and struggle for years before obtaining an accurate diagnosis of endometriosis.
For women with pain during intercourse, some practitioners tell them their issue is psychological, that it is all in their mind. Others say it is anatomical or they have an infection. For many of these women, it is simply endometriosis. A close friend of mine told me horror stories about avoiding sex because of the excruciating pain she experienced adding another dimension of fear caused by this dreadful disease.
A small percentage of women do not realize they have endometriosis until they try to become pregnant or have exploratory surgery.
For most women, they experience a variety of painful symptoms. The following symptoms were taken from a survey of 940 women with endometriosis:
- 79% – severe pain during their periods (usually it is different from menstrual cramps)
- 69% – pain in their pelvic region
- 45 % – pain during sex
- 26-39% – Bowel pain with or without diarrhea and constipation
- 26% – Infertility
- 20% – Ovarian mass/tumor/cyst
Other women have low back pain, fatigue or irregular periods or bleeding.
Take Home Thoughts:
Trust your instincts! You know your body best. If you feel your pain is unique or different from what you have experienced before, have a conversation with your provider about the possibility you have endometriosis. Use the statistics I have provided for you to educate your provider of the many different ways endometriosis can present itself. Even if your provider is reluctant to discuss the path of endometriosis, there are many things you can do to reduce the pain of endometriosis at our resources page. If you need more assistance, visit our contact page where you can set up an appointment with one of our experts in endometriosis.