Endometriosis is a condition of the female reproduction system in which the endometrium begins to grow outside of the uterus. Arizona women should be aware that identifying endometriosis can be difficult. The symptoms of the condition are inconstant, can vary widely and can be mistaken as symptoms of other types of diseases. This is part of the reason why the condition has a very high rate of misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis.
Pain and infertility are the two primary symptoms of endometriosis. Other indications of the condition may include lack of energy, painful menstrual cramps that may get progressively worse, pain in the lower abdomen, gastrointestinal symptoms, and bleeding or spotting in between periods.
A physician may use non-invasive and invasive techniques to diagnose endometriosis. Non-invasive diagnostic methods begin with an evaluation of a woman’s medical and family history and a comprehensive physical examination. If abnormalities are suspected during a pelvic exam, the physician may order imaging exams, such as CT and MRI scans.
Invasive methods for diagnosing endometriosis will yield more concrete results than non-evasive procedures. Surgery is considered the only practical method that can detect the disease. Typically, a visual inspection will be conducted via laparoscopy. After the patient is placed under general anesthesia, the interior of her abdomen will be examined by inserting a small camera through small incisions that are made near the navel. The endometrial tissue will be examined to verify the size, location and scope of the misplaced endometrial tissue. A sample may also be removed so that a biopsy may be conducted.
A failure to diagnose a disease can often result in the patient’s condition worsening. However, it does not always constitute medical malpractice. An attorney who is representing someone who has been harmed in this manner will need to demonstrate that such failure constitute a breach of the duty of care owed by the health care practitioner or facility.