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Endometriosis is a condition in women in which the endometrial cells are growing outside of the uterus instead of inside where they belong. These cells are usually discharged each month during a woman’s menstrual cycle. When they attach themselves to tissue that is on the outside of the uterus they are referred to as endometriosis implants.

Doctors may find these implants on the woman’s fallopian tubes, ovaries, along the pelvis, the outer side of the uterus, or intestines. While rare it is possible for doctors to also find them on the cervix, vagina, and bladder. The endometrial cells can cause painful symptoms and other health problems in a woman – but they are not cancerous in anyway.

Health experts will try to diagnose this problem based on the endometriosis symptoms that the woman experiences during the examination. They will usually perform a rectovaginal exam – which is the process of placing one finger in the vagina and the other in the rectum. Through this method the doctor will have the ability to search for and feel the endometrial implants that might be placed behind the uterus or along the wall of the pelvis.

While the examination and the symptoms help the doctor to reach the right conclusion they are not always reliable. Because of this they may suggest the use of an ultrasound – which will rule out any diagnoses of pelvic diseases and may be able to see endometrial cells that are along the bladder or vagina.

The most accurate method of diagnosing endometriosis is to examine the inside of the woman’s abdomen and pelvis and to biopsy the tissue of the implants that might be found. This requires surgery in which the surgeon will open the stomach using a large incision laparoscopy or a smaller incision laparoscopy.

Laparoscopy is more common because it is the more simpler procedure that can be done while the patient is under general or local anesthesia. Also the patient will usually be able to go home the same day of the procedure. At time the biopsies that are gathered during the procedure may identify endometriosis even if there are no visible implant seen by the surgeon.

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