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The methods for diagnosing endometriosis

Jan 3, 2017 | Failure to Diagnose

Some New York women could have endometriosis and not even know it. This disease of the reproductive system develops when the tissue lining of the uterus, which is called the endometrium, grows outside of the uterus. Medical professionals do not fully understand why this happens, which is part of the reason why it is difficult to diagnose.

Endometriosis mainly causes infertility and pain. The pain could be crippling during menstruation and during or after intercourse. Patients could also have painful urination or bowel movements during menstruation and other gastrointestinal symptoms such as lack of energy or fatigue.

However, these symptoms are similar to other health conditions and vary widely. This increases the rate of a delayed or misdiagnosis. The National Endometriosis Society found in a survey that more than 50 percent of people with endometriosis were initially told that nothing was wrong.

One non-invasive method of endometriosis diagnosis is a complete pelvic exam, during which the doctor presses around the pelvis to detect anomalies. When signs of endometriosis are present, imaging tests such as CT and MRI scans are the next step. However, studies indicate that the success of diagnostic imaging is limited because it does not provide adequate resolution to pinpoint the abnormal endometrium growth.

Researchers say that laparoscopy, a surgical procedure, is the only sure-fire way to detect and diagnose endometriosis. For the procedure, the surgical team gives the patient general anesthesia, and the surgeon inserts a surgical camera into a small incision near the belly button. Using the camera, the doctor looks for endometrial tissue outside of the uterus and might take a sample for biopsy. However, most doctors try to avoid such invasive techniques.

A delayed diagnosis of this disease could result in a worsened medical condition. Women who have been harmed in such a manner may want to meet with an attorney to see if there is cause to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the health care professional.