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Endometriosis Diagnosis

UC San Diego Health offers expert care for endometriosis. The first step in diagnosing endometriosis is to make an appointment with a specialist. Before your appointment, make a list of any symptoms you're experiencing, medications you're taking, and questions you want to ask.

What to Expect During Initial Consultation

Your initial consultation will be with one of our board-certified reproductive endocrinologists. During the consultation, your doctor 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.
  • Have you fill out a questionnaire to assess your quality of life before, during, and after treatment.
  • Develop a plan for your ongoing care.

At this time, your specialist may also conduct these exams:

  • Pelvic exam: to 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).

Diagnosing Endometriosis with Laparoscopy

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.

More about laparoscopy in our Health Library.



La Jolla

Endometriosis Specialists

Podcast with Dr. Agarwal

Dr. Sanjay Agarwal gives an update on treatment for endometriosis on our N Equals One podcast.

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