The average time of diagnosis for Endometriosis is 10 years. There are no medications for treatment, medications only treat the symptoms. The only way to diagnose and treat Endometriosis is via surgery, specifically a laparoscopic surgery to biopsy suspected tissue. Even then the success of surgery relies on the skill of the surgeon to properly remove Endometriosis via excision. (See Surgery section for more details.) Endometriosis is commonly misdiagnosed as other conditions, or the diagnosis can be difficult if you have more than one condition. Here are a few conditions often misdiagnosed or alternative diagnosis’.
Endometriosis misdiagnosed as another condition.
Sometimes a physician may misdiagnose Endometriosis incorrectly as another condition when the correct diagnosis is Endometriosis.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): An infection in the pelvic area that can be caused by a variety of bacteria and can attack various pelvic organs.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a common condition that affects the lower gastrointestinal tract (the intestines) and results in uncomfortable and inconvenient symptoms, such as gas, emotional distress, and abnormal bowel movements.
- Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder and possibly the urethra, most often caused by a bacterial infection.
Alternative diagnosis to consider during the diagnostic process for Endometriosis.
- Adenomyosis occurs when endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, exists within and grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. This happens most often late in your childbearing years after having children.
- Interstitial Cystitis: is a less common form of cystitis and is not caused by an infection. There is no known cause of interstitial cystitis, but it is marked by chronic, long-term inflammation of the bladder wall.
- Pelvic Adhesions: Scar tissue that is formed by bleeding endometriosis lesions and surgery. This scar tissue can bind together internal organs and surfaces
- Primary Dysmenorrhea: Painful menstruation which is not associated with pelvic pathology.
Some women have also reported other conditions that may or may not be related:
- Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD):
Disorders of the pelvic floor related to physiological or anatomical abnormalities. They include incontinence, prolapse, pain syndromes, and others.
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS):
A condition found in women who don’t ovulate, characterised by excessive production of androgens (male sex hormones) and the presence of cysts in the ovaries. Though PCOS can be without symptoms, some include excessive weight gain, acne, and excessive hair growth.
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that can’t be explained by any underlying medical condition. The fatigue may worsen with physical or mental activity, but doesn’t improve with rest.
- Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.
Trial and error are the only ways to learn what will work for you!
Additional sources of information:
Adhesions_An Update By the Center for Endo Care
Endometriosis and Bowel Symptoms By the Center for Endo Care
Interstitial Cystitis by Endometriosis.org