Some women have silent endometriosis for years before getting a diagnosis, due to the lack of obvious symptoms. They may only experience unexplained infertility and IVF implantation failure. Doctors may not consider giving these women an endometriosis test, resulting in a long-time unawareness that they have endometriosis.
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No Simple Test to Diagnose Endometriosis
Endometriosis is not visible on any imaging tests unless it is severe. Some of the most comprehensive imaging machines, such as MRI, do not detect the condition. Doctors have a challenging time diagnosing this disease, leaving many women undiagnosed.
Most of the tests that physicians use to diagnose endometriosis are inaccurate. Doctors conduct pelvic exams using ultrasound for any signs of endometriosis, scar tissue, or cysts. They place the ultrasound scanning wand in the vagina and push it close to the belly. This test does not always diagnose endometriosis.
The most effective test for diagnosing endometriosis is through a surgery known as laparoscopy. It involves inserting a small camera in the pelvis to detect signs of endometriosis. A laparoscopy is invasive, and most women choose not to undergo the procedure, as the after-effects of the surgery can affect their productivity.
Misconceptions and Myths Surrounding the Disease
Many people with painful symptoms linked to endometriosis experience the symptoms but remain silent. They refuse to be open about their pain due to misconceptions about the condition.
The shame and stigma linked to periods also explain why many women are not diagnosed with endometriosis. Many women do not seek medical attention and nurse their pain at home to avoid discussing period pain.
Misconceptions that any form of period pain is normal also result in many women suffering endometriosis unawares. Women that complain of too much period pain may feel expected to just endure through it; if their pain is normal, they do not want to appear weak or incapable by complaining of their struggle. This myth results in many women with endometriosis never getting the necessary treatment.
Although endometriosis affects many women, research about the condition is not well funded. Public health communities are poorly informed about this condition, decreasing the overall awareness of this condition, causing a complete naivety to a fairly common but very serious issue.
In 2016, the National Institute of Health had a budget of $32 billion. Of that amount, they only dedicated $11 million for researching endometriosis— a shockingly low amount for such a common condition amongst women. With more funding, scientists and doctors may be able to develop easier, affordable treatments for individuals struggling with this painful and detrimental issue.
Low Endometriosis Recognition at The Practitioner Level
Because endometriosis can only be completely confirmed by invasive surgery, many women’s endometriosis remains unrecognized or unofficially diagnosed by practitioners. Statistics may lead doctors to assume a low likelihood for a patient, but that should not completely exclude the potential for the condition to exist. This leads many women to high-dose medications that just cover the painful symptoms without ever solving or improving the problem.
Many women with asymptomatic or silent endometriosis never get diagnosed. They do not have signs such as pelvic pain or painful intercourse, so physicians never think to check.
The only women with asymptomatic endometriosis who uncover the disease are those receiving infertility treatment. Doctors notice the abnormal tissues during different procedures, such as tubal sterilization.
Endometriosis has similar symptoms to various reproductive diseases. It is often misdiagnosed as ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory diseases, and irritable bowel syndrome, which can all be symptoms of endometriosis but will not cure the condition through singular treatment. Women with endometriosis receive treatment for other conditions for many years before realizing they were misdiagnosed. This mainly occurs after receiving treatment for other diseases without recovering.
Get Tested for Endometriosis Today?
Do you experience unexplained infertility, recurrent pregnancy loss, or failed IVF cycles? You could have silent endometriosis!
Talk to your doctor about an endometriosis test to determine the cause of your health issues. Your doctor may conduct a minor surgery to detect asymptomatic endometriosis. They could also use a special test to identify uterine inflammation, a sign of silent endometriosis. The test has high specificity and sensitivity and is thus highly accurate in detecting endometriosis. This diagnostic test is helping many women with infertility and IVF failure receive endometriosis treatment.