Endometriosis is a serious condition that affects an estimated one in ten women. It is also a highly misdiagnosed condition, with most women waiting years for a proper diagnosis. March is Endometriosis Month, and the ideal time to raise awareness about this condition.
What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a painful condition which can affect anyone with a uterus. It causes tissue similar to what usually lines the endometrium (uterus) to grow outside the uterus. This lining can grow around the pelvic and reproductive organs, including the ovaries and fallopian tubes, though it can also affect other organs. Like the usual endometrium lining, this tissue sheds regularly, but it has no way to leave the body, so over time scarring and excess tissue can develop around organs, which in some cases can cause organs and pelvic tissue to stick together and surgery may be needed to separate organs again.
What Are the Symptoms?
Endometriosis can produce many symptoms in patients, including:
- Severe and sometimes debilitating pain, which sometimes gets worse as the condition progresses
- Painful bowel movements or urination, especially during menstruation
- Diarrhea, constipation, and other gastrointestinal problems
- Unusual or heavy menstruation
Why Is It So Commonly Misdiagnosed?
It is not unusual for women to wait seven, ten, or more years to be properly diagnosed with endometriosis, even though it is a common condition. Part of the issue is that women’s menstrual pain, even when severe, is sometimes dismissed by doctors. Another problem is that pelvic pain, the most common symptom, is also a symptom for other conditions, such as ovarian cysts.
Endometriosis can be diagnosed with laparoscopy, which involves a small camera which can be used to check for endometrial tissue. During this procedure, the doctor can get a clear picture of any endometrial tissue, take a biopsy, and even treat endometriosis during the same treatment. If a doctor does not order a laparoscopy or other imaging tests, they may not get a clear picture of what is happening and may misdiagnose.
What Are the Treatments?
Endometriosis can be treated with surgery, during which excess tissue is removed and any organs which have become fused can be separated. The condition can also be treated with hormone therapy or with pain management medication. More often, experts today suggest a holistic approach, one that addresses the distress, pain, symptoms, and effects of the condition.
What Can You Do If You Suspect You Have Endometriosis?
If you have the symptoms of endometriosis, see a physician or OB-GYN. If you think you may not have gotten the right diagnosis, get a second opinion. There are also support groups for people who have endometriosis, and these can provide important support and suggestions for getting an accurate diagnosis.
What Are Your Options After a Medical Misdiagnosis?
Being misdiagnosed in Hollywood if you have endometriosis can be devastating. The pain of the condition can be debilitating and can leave you unable to work or enjoy regular activities. Untreated, the condition can also lead to a need for more invasive surgery or can lead to infertility, which may require additional fertility treatments.
Endometriosis can also increase the risk of ovarian cancer and endometriosis-associated adenocarcinoma. While these cancers are still very rare, even for patients with endometriosis, being correctly diagnosed so you can evaluate your risk and get screening, if needed, is important.
If you have been misdiagnosed and this has caused losses, such as loss of income or increased medical bills once you need more complex treatment, contact Flaxman Law Group at 1-866-352-9626 (1-866-FLAXMAN) for a free consultation with a medical misdiagnosis attorney in Hollywood.