The diagnosis of endometriosis is a challenge for several reasons, the first being the reality that many GPs are not adequately trained in the procedure required to gain a diagnosis in the first place. Endometriosis diagnosis is only feasible through laparoscopy, meaning a key-hole incision is made, typically in the belly button, in an effort to identify the womb tissue that is growing in other areas of the body.

Ultrasound procedures and pelvic exams are not an accurate method to discover endometriosis for most women, but the majority of doctors are only able to perform these standard exams and no more. Getting the correct diagnosis often means being referred to an endometriosis specialist – something that only takes place when the initial medical provider is aware of and well-versed in the condition.

Courses of Treatment

Each woman living with endometriosis may receive a different treatment plan, based on the severity of symptoms and the prevalence and growth of womb tissue within the body. For most, specialists recommend less invasive options first, including prescription pain medications that are anti-inflammatory, hormone therapy which slows the growth of tissue, and conservative surgery that eliminates the tissue causing problems. In some cases, more invasive surgeries like a full hysterectomy are recommended, but only after more conservative methods are attempted.

Some women have found that lifestyle changes make a significant difference in managing endometriosis symptoms. Changing diet to exclude gluten and dairy products works for some, while adding exercise and routine physical activity to the mix are beneficial to others. Some women with endometriosis also try to avoid stress and opt for alternative medicine like acupuncture to ease symptoms. No matter the treatment plan, endometriosis is only manageable when there is a proper diagnosis early on in the development of the condition.

Getting Involved

The month of March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, first created to encourage greater awareness of the commonly misdiagnosed and underrepresented disease. Throughout the month, and anytime during the year, individuals who live with endometriosis or those who support a woman with the condition can take simple steps to get involved. There are several local events, marches, and educational presentations meant to boost the level of knowledge surrounding endometriosis and its devastating influence on womens’ lives. The charity, Endometriosis UK, offers many opportunities to connect with the endometriosis community as well as an easy way to donate to the cause.

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