How would I know if I have endometriosis?

If you think you have this disease, talk with an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) or a Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility specialist (REI). These doctors have special training to diagnose and treat this condition. Your doctor will talk to you about your symptoms and health history. Then she or he will do a pelvic exam. Sometimes during the exam, your doctor can find signs of endometriosis.

Usually doctors need to run tests to find out if a woman has endometriosis. Sometimes your doctor will use imaging tests to "see" large growths of endometriosis inside the body. The two most common imaging tests are:

  • ultrasound, which uses sound waves to see inside the body
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which uses magnets and radio waves to make a "picture" of the inside of the body

The only way to know for sure if you have endometriosis is to have a surgery called laparoscopy. In this procedure, a tiny cut is made in your abdomen. A thin tube with a light is placed inside to see growths from endometriosis. Sometimes your doctor can diagnose endometriosis just by seeing the growths. Other times, she or he may need to take a small sample of tissue, or a biopsy, and study it under a microscope.