Endometriosis is a painful condition. It can affect any woman who has reached the age of menstruation. Endometriosis involves patches of endometrial cells being found outside of the womb, in areas such as the bowel or ligaments surrounding the womb.
When a woman reaches the time in a month, when she experiences menstrual bleeding, these patches will also bleed. With nowhere to go, and no means to flow away, this blood sometimes forms cysts. In rare cases these patches of endometriosis have been found in the lungs.
By the time I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis, I had been having symptoms for about seven years. Reading the information leaflet, given to me by the hospital, I read that this is usually the case.
Endometriosis is not seen on an ultrasound scan, or during a smear test. What normally happens is a long protracted set of events, whicht can leave the sufferer feeling depressed and misunderstood, for a long time.
If you are a woman of menstruating age and you have symptoms such as:-
- Painful sexual intercourse.
- Heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Excessive period pain and cramping.
- Difficulty conceiving.
- Pelvic pain.
- And more.
-then you could have endometriosis. However there could be other causes for your symptoms.
The first step in getting the right diagnosis, and then treatment, is seeing you doctor.
In England this would be your General Practitioner. Try to give your doctor a clear picture of your symptoms. If it helps, make a note of these symptoms before consulting your doctor. Many of us feel intimidated and nervous when attending a doctor's surgery and end up giving vague symptoms. The doctor will also go by the signs which you display. This is what he observes about you.
From all of this the doctor will hopefully get a clear picture of your health problems, be able to make the correct diagnosis and suggest a course of treatment. However, even if the doctor suspects that you have endometriosis, he will not be able to say with 100% certainty that you have, until you have undergone a laparoscopic investigation. This may mean waiting a little while for a referral to be sent to the hospital.
Personally, I then found that I had to meet with a junior doctor to be examined. Having just returned from a holiday abroad, I was tanned and looked well. So much so that, the junior doctor, as good as told me that there could be nothing wrong with me, as I looked so fit.
Well he was wrong and so my advice is do not let someone tell you that you do not have endometriosis until they are 100% sure.
I had to undergo an internal examination, at this consultation, which was painful, at the time. I was referred for an investigative laparoscopy and the endometriosis was found. The Gynaecological surgeon looks at your womb, and the nearby area, to see if there are any signs of endometriosis and any adhesions. These can only be seen by the naked eye and, at present, this is the only accurate way to make a diagnosis of endometriosis.
A few years down the road, I also had some bowel problems and had to have a colonoscopy. This procedure was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. It was necessary as, endometriosis patches are sometimes found outside of the womb and in areas such as the bowel.
This article has not been researched but has been taken from my personal experiences. I know that treatments and diagnosing techniques are changing all the time.
However, I would say that basically in order to get an accurate diagnosis of Endometriosis a laparoscopy will be needed.
Once you have a correct diagnosis you can consider the appropriate treatment for you. I actually had a further laparoscopy, hormone treatment and a microwave ablation. Many sufferers find that the laparoscopy will need to be repeated as endometriosis often returns, sooner or later, after treatment.
A hysterectomy is not carried out as often these days as it used to be, for endometriosis.
I wish you good luck. Endometirosis is not an easy condition but there are many treatments these days and one will be right for you.