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Diagnosis Obstetrics & Gynecology


In diagnosing endometriosis, your doctor will begin by asking about your symptoms and conducting a physical exam, including a pelvic exam to check for any abnormalities, though these are typically hard to detect without other, more advanced tests.

The tests may include:

  • Pelvic exam This is done to check a woman's vagina, uterus, bladder and rectum. The doctor feels these organs for any lumps or changes in their shape or size. To see the upper part of the vagina and the cervix, the doctor inserts an instrument called a speculum into the vagina.
  • Transvaginal ultrasound In this test, a doctor inserts an instrument into the vagina that aims high-frequency sound waves at the uterus. The pattern of the echoes they produce creates a picture.
  • Laparoscopy This is a surgical procedure that uses tiny incisions and a scope, called a laparoscope, to view the pelvic and other abdominal organs to look for signs of endometrial tissue outside the uterus.
  • CA125 Test This is a blood test that checks levels of a blood protein known as CA125, which is a tumor marker for certain gynecological cancers, but is also used to detect a specific protein found in the blood of women who have endometriosis. However, it is important to note that CA125 levels also may be increased during pregnancy, menstruation and in the presence of other non-cancerous gynecologic diseases or cancers.

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.