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Endometriosis Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

With endometriosis, tissue from the uterus lining grows in nearby organs, including the ovaries, fallopian tubes and vagina. It sometimes spreads to the bladder, bowel or rectum. Endometriosis symptoms, including severe pain and pelvic organ disruption, can impact your daily life. But healing is possible when you come to Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.  

We regularly treat people with this condition, providing timely services that address all your concerns. You have access to medical therapies, such as minimally invasive procedures, that restore your sense of wellness.

Endometriosis care at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health: Why choose us?

You receive specialized care from a team that understands how endometriosis can affect your health. Our team includes experienced gynecologists, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners, providing care for patients in Seattle, Tacoma, and the Puget Sound area. Our clinics see a high volume of patients with endometriosis, leading to efficient care that brings healing. 

Highlights of our program include: 

  • Accurate endometriosis diagnosis: Endometriosis symptoms are often similar to other gynecologic issues, such as adenomyosisuterine fibroids and ovarian cysts. We take time to perform a thorough evaluation and advanced testing when necessary. Our providers help you receive a correct diagnosis and the best treatments for your needs.

  • Personalized endometriosis care: Endometriosis treatment often starts with medical therapies, but if you have severe symptoms, you may need a procedure. Our experts consider your immediate needs and long-term goals, which may include getting pregnant.

  • Advanced endometriosis treatments: For severe symptoms, we may perform a laparoscopy to assess and remove endometrial growths. It's a minimally invasive gynecologic surgery that uses small incisions and slender instruments.

  • Coordinated endometriosis surgical procedures: When growths form near other organs and delicate tissue, we collaborate with additional surgical specialists, including:

How do I get relief from endometriosis pain?
It can take up to 10 years to receive an endometriosis diagnosis. Many people delay care, thinking symptoms are a natural part of their menstrual cycle. But it doesn't have to be like this. Our experts are easy to talk to and quickly get to the source of your concerns. Get started by scheduling a virtual visit.

What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

Some people with endometriosis do not have symptoms, especially if endometrial growths are small. When there are symptoms, pain is typically one of them. 

You may experience endometriosis pain in different ways, such as:

Additional endometriosis symptoms include: 

  • Bleeding between periods
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Endometriomas, which are cyst-like growths that develop with advanced endometriosis
  • Nausea

How do providers evaluate and diagnose endometriosis?

Your provider starts by discussing your symptoms, how long you've had them and their impact on your daily life. 

You may need tests to check for growths and endometriomas, such as:

  • Pelvic exam: Your provider slides a gloved finger into your vagina and gently presses on your pelvic organs. This test may detect scarring or unusual growths.
  • Transvaginal ultrasound: Your provider passes a small probe through your vagina for detailed views of your pelvic organs. The probe uses sound waves to produce real-time images.
  • MRI: This imaging study uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to provide greater detail than an ultrasound. We may recommend an MRI if ultrasound findings aren't clear.

What are treatment options for endometriosis?

We treat mild or moderate endometriosis symptoms with medical therapies for endometriosis pain and heavy bleeding. Treatments that may stop endometriosis from progressing may include:

  • Medication: Your care may include over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers. 
  • Birth control: We offer various birth control options, including pills, implantable devices and patches. 
  • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists and antagonists: This hormonal therapy lowers estrogen levels and halts your menstrual cycle.

Minimally invasive endometriosis surgery

We often use laparoscopy to remove growths and endometriomas. This minimally invasive technique involves small incisions for care that's gentler on your body. A thin tube with a camera and tiny instruments at the tip helps us carry out the procedure. 

If it is not safe to use laparoscopic techniques, we remove growths and endometriomas using excision surgery. This method involves larger incisions. In some cases, it is necessary to remove the uterus (hysterectomy), but this treatment doesn't always offer a cure.

Schedule an appointment with an endometriosis specialist

Find out more about our gynecology services in Seattle, Tacoma, and the Puget Sound area, or make an appointment.