Early diagnosis is extremely important. Currently, on average, it takes seven to nine years of complaining about symptoms to medical professionals to receive a diagnosis of endometriosis. Therefore, earlier diagnosis and treatment can help mitigate years of unnecessary suffering. In addition, patients coping with symptoms without a diagnosis can sometimes face dismissal of their symptoms from friends, family, and even medical professionals. This can lead to feelings of isolation, anxiety, and depression.
Unfortunately endometriosis cannot be definitively diagnosed by a blood test or medical imaging. Sometimes endometriosis can be seen with an ultrasound or MRI, but many times these tests are negative even when endometriosis is present. A minimally invasive surgical procedure, called a laparoscopy, is necessary for an accurate and absolute diagnosis. This procedure, when performed by a gynecologist with special training in this type of surgery, can also be used to effectively treat endometriosis lesions that are found. Be sure to question your doctor about the type of laparoscopy to be performed to ensure that suspected tissues are biopsied (removed and examined under a microscope) to identify the disease. This type of laparoscopic surgery is called excision surgery.