There are several conditions that can cause pelvic pain. The first step to determining whether or not the cause of your pain is endometriosis is to make an appointment with a specialist.
Initial Consultation: What to Expect
At CERT, your initial consultation will be with Sanjay Agarwal, MD, FACOG, board-certified in both obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive endocrinology.
During the consultation Dr. Agarwal will:
- Evaluate your full medical history
- Conduct a complete physical and medical exam
- Ask you to describe your symptoms and indicate the area(s) where you have pain
- Develop a plan for your ongoing care
At this time he may also conduct a:
- Pelvic exam: Helps detect any abnormalities (e.g., cysts on reproductive organs, scars behind the uterus).
- Vaginal ultrasound: During a vaginal ultrasound a transducer (wand-shaped scanner) is inserted into your vagina. A small scanner is then moved across your abdomen. This combination produces a video image of your reproductive organs. While an ultrasound can’t definitively determine whether or not you have endometriosis, it can help identify endometriomas (cysts).
You will also be given a short questionnaire to assess your quality of life. This is to help monitor your progress of treatment over time.
- Write down any symptoms you’re experiencing (even if they seem unrelated).
- Make a list of any medications or vitamin supplements you take (dose amount and frequency).
- Have a family member or close friend accompany you.
- Prepare a list of questions.
- What medications are used to treat endometriosis?
- What side effects can I expect from medication use?
- Under what circumstances do you recommend surgery?
- Will I take a medication before or after surgery?
- Will endometriosis affect my ability to become pregnant?
- Can treatment of endometriosis improve my fertility?
- Can you recommend any alternative treatments I might try?
The most reliable method for diagnosing endometriosis is visually through a diagnostic laparoscopy.
Laparoscopy is a minor surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia. Using a special needle, your surgeon expands your abdomen with carbon dioxide gas so that the reproductive organs are easier to see. A tiny incision is made near your navel, and a slender viewing instrument is inserted. By moving the laparoscope around, your surgeon can view the pelvic and other abdominal organs, looking for signs of endometrial tissue outside the uterus.
Laparoscopy provides your doctor with information about the location, extent and size of the endometrial implants. Any endometrial implants that are found at this time will be excised (cut away) with a laser.
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Q&A With Our Expert
Dr. Sanjay Agarwal answers three questions about endometriosis. Read it on Tumblr.
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