Have We Been Too Quick To Judge?
One of the major challenges of endometriosis is accurately diagnosing the disease.
Despite the risk and cost, surgery remains the gold standard for diagnosing endometriosis. However, surgery is not perfect, and for many reasons, endometriosis may be missed.
Because of the limitations of surgery, much work is focused on developing alternative methods of diagnosing endometriosis. For example, looking for substances in the blood or urine that are specific to endometriosis (biomarkers).
We carefully reviewed the world’s highest quality published research papers on endometriosis biomarkers. The studies we found varied widely with regard to how endometriosis is defined, assessment of pain, quality of life, variation with the menstrual cycle, and extent and location of endometriosis documentation.
Because endometriosis is a disease in which there is inflammation, many of the biomarkers assessed thus far are also implicated in other inflammatory conditions (e.g., inflammatory bowel disease).
The search for a biomarker that is specific to endometriosis and that can be easily detected without surgery continues. We propose uniform measures for future studies evaluating potential endometriosis biomarkers that will hopefully lead to more consistent results.
What This Means For You
Although surgery is the currently the best way to diagnose endometriosis, much effort is being made globally to develop new, safer, and cheaper ways of diagnosing endometriosis.
Medical Hypotheses. 2014 Apr;82(4):493-501
Toor K, Wessels JM, Agarwal SK, Leyland N, Foster WG (Canada & USA)
Read the full study on National Institutes of Health.