Endometriosis is one of the great mimics in medicine: Very mild endometriosis can cause considerable symptoms while very severe stages of the condition may be symptom-free. This can be a challenge because a patient may be suffering from endometriosis-induced infertility without anybody realizing that she even has endometriosis.
Three major symptoms of endometriosis are:
- dysmenorrhea (severe cramping during menstrual periods),
- pain during sexual intercourse and,
- in fact, infertility.
Women experiencing infertility with dysmenorrhea and/or intercourse pain should bring up these symptoms with their reproductive endocrinologist.
Once endometriosis is suspected, the ultimate diagnosis can only be made by visualizing the endometriosis lesions via laparoscopylaparoscopy . However, even laparoscopic diagnosis, considered the gold standard, can be inaccurate because endometriosis is often only microscopic in size. Endometriosis, therefore, can easily be overlooked, or its severity may be underestimated even during laparoscopy.
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Last Updated: November 15, 2014