Endometriosis is a common medical condition that is said to affect about 10% of woman.
It is a condition where the lining of your uterus (endometrium) grows in other areas including the ovaries, muscle of the uterus (adenomyosis), or in other parts of your pelvis.
The endometrium is the layer of tissue that is shed each month during your menstrual cycle, or where a pregnancy settles and grows.
When the abnormal endometrial tissue (the growth which has grown outside of your uterus) breaks down it, it subsequently causes chocolate cysts (endometriomas), heavy and painful bleeding, chronic pain and possibly infertility.
There are 2 types of endometriosis:
- Superficial lesions
- Deep Infiltrating Endometriosis
The majority of cases involve only superficial lesions (in the ovary) and if these do not cause you any symptoms, you do not require any treatment, although we do recommend monitoring the condition with a pelvic ultrasound.
However, Deep Infiltrating Endometriosis can develop into lesions that can infiltrate your bowel, bladder, ureter, and vagina causing adhesions in the pelvis, which may or may not cause you symptoms.
A Pelvic Ultrasound may identify lesions/cysts, however to detect severe endometriosis, we recommend a Detailed Endometriosis Scan.
What to Expect?
Prior to a Detailed Endometriosis Scan, you will be asked to prepare your bowels with a mild laxative (Dulcolax fluid solution or tablet) which is taken the evening before your examination. You will also be asked to perform a simple rectal enema consisting of 133 ml of Fleet enema approximately 1 hour prior to the examination. This preparation is required to eliminate any faecal residues and gases that may be present immediately prior the scan. This medication can be bought over the counter, at a cost of less than $10.
Each ultrasound examination is performed and documented in real time by one of our COGU qualified Subspecialists in gynaecological imaging.
If there are endometriotic nodules identified in your vagina or adjacent structures, an ultrasound gel may be used, (GEL Sonovaginography) and this will help us to define and further assess any vaginal, uterosacral or recto-vaginal nodules.
The results of the ultrasound will be discussed with you whilst being scanned by the Specialist Doctor, and a detailed ultrasound report will be provided to your doctor.
In conjunction with your medical history, we may offer suggestions of other possible issues that may be causing you your symptoms.
Treatments for Endometriosis
Treatment may include hormonal preparations or surgical removal of the endometriotic nodules. Transvaginal ultrasound plays an important role in assessing your current condition prior to any surgical treatment. This provides your specialist with complex pre-surgical planning, if necessary.