Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that usually lines the inside of the uterus, grows outside of the uterus. Once outside the uterus, it continues to act as it normally would—thickening, breaking down, and bleeding along with the menstrual cycle—which can cause mild to severe pain. The radiologists at The Association of Alexandria Radiologists can diagnose endometriosis with a safe, pain-free ultrasound exam.

Symptoms of Endometriosis

The most common symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain associated with the menstrual cycle. Pain can range from mild to severe and may also include lower back and abdominal pain. In addition to pelvic pain, other common symptoms of endometriosis include:

  • Excessive bleeding with periods and/or bleeding in between periods
  • Pain during or after sex
  • Pain during urination or bowel movements

Endometriosis and Infertility

It is possible for a woman with endometriosis to get pregnant and carry a baby to full term however, about 30-50% of women with endometriosis have difficulty getting pregnant. Endometriosis may obstruct the fallopian tube, which prevents the egg and sperm from meeting.

Diagnosing Endometriosis

The first step is to talk to your doctor or gynecologist, who can review your medical history and symptoms. He or she will likely perform a pelvic exam to feel for any abnormalities. If further testing is needed, you will probably receive a referral for an ultrasound. An ultrasound is a safe and pain-free exam that allows a radiologist to view the tissues inside your uterus and pelvic region. You may receive a transvaginal ultrasound, in which the transducer is placed inside the vagina, or a pelvic ultrasound, in which the transducer is placed over the skin of the pelvis, or a combination of both.

When to Suspect Endometriosis

The pelvic pain associated with endometriosis may be mistaken for other conditions including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ovarian cysts, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). An accurate diagnosis is essential to managing the condition and finding a treatment. If your doctor thinks you may have endometriosis and you have a referral for an ultrasound, come to the Association of Alexandria Radiologists for your ultrasound exam at one of our 8 convenient locations offering ultrasound.