Symptoms and diagnosis

Turn to us if you have troubling symptoms

Endometriosis is a common health condition that affects women.

It occurs when tissue that lines your uterus grows outside the uterus. Most often, this tissue grows on your ovaries, fallopian tubes or other pelvic structures. However, it can also affect other areas of the body. It can be painful, and it can make it hard to get pregnant. 

Endometriosis can vary widely. One woman may have severe pain, while another has none. In addition to pain, endometriosis may demonstrate many other types of symptoms. However, there can be other symptoms. Getting help begins with recognizing these symptoms and seeing a doctor. We help women who come to us on their own and those referred to us by other doctors.

Symptoms 

Common endometriosis symptoms include:

  • Bleeding between periods

  • Excessive bleeding

  • Fatigue and gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or nausea during periods

  • Lower back and abdominal pain

  • Pain during or after sex

  • Pain with bowel movements or urination

  • Painful periods

  • Pelvic pain and cramping before or after your period

  • Trouble getting pregnant

Diagnosis

There are several tools that can help us evaluate your symptoms. Doctors who suspect endometriosis based on your symptoms may recommend one or more of the following:

Doctors feel your internal reproductive organs. They look for any abnormalities.

This test uses sound waves to create pictures of your internal organs.

This uses magnets and radio waves to take pictures of the inside of your body. It can help us get more details about your internal reproductive organs and what may be causing your symptoms. This can be particularly important if we decide surgery is the best treatment for you.

This is a type of surgery. It allows us to see inside your body using a special tool with a camera on it. This alone may help us make a diagnosis. In some cases, we need to remove tissue during the procedure and look at it in a lab.

Treatments

Reducing your pain, restoring your quality of life

At UW Health, we provide diagnosis and treatment through our Advanced Pelvic Surgery Center. Through both medical and surgical options, UW Health provides individualized treatment plans based on each patient’s unique needs.

There are several treatments for endometriosis. We work with you to find the one that fits your goals of care. We work together to reduce symptoms and improve your quality of life.  If you hope to become pregnant, we can help with that too.

Non-surgical treatment options

Over-the-counter pain medicine can sometimes help relieve discomfort.

Prescription medication which can help when nerve pain is experienced as a symptom of endometriosis.

Lowering certain hormone levels may lessen pain and keep your condition from getting worse. We may use:

  • Birth control pills

  • Injections

  • Intrauterine devices

  • Patches

  • Vaginal rings

Surgery

The advanced pelvic surgery center has a fellowship trained minimally invasive gynecologic surgeon who can help with guidance and planning for more complex cases of endometriosis.

Surgery for endometriosis can include the following:

This involves removing areas of tissue overgrowth. Often, we can do this through small incisions using a laparoscope. A laparoscope is a long, thin tube with a light and camera on its tip.  This may be done through a traditional laparoscope or via the Davinci Robotic system.

This surgery involves removing your uterus and cervix. Sometimes, we remove your ovaries as well. This is known as oophorectomy. To give you the most pain relief, we must also remove any other tissue overgrowth we find.

Meet our team

A caring team by your side

At UW Health we often treat patients with more complex endometriosis, including patients who have not responded to other treatments.

Our team, at the Advanced Pelvic Surgery Center, is highly trained and experienced in minimally invasive surgical techniques including the robotic system.  We are happy to see patients and offer a second opinion. 

Providing complete health care for women from a young age through adulthood.

Obstetrics and Gynecology Services

Locations

Expert care close to home

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  • 20 S. Park Clinic - Obstetrics and Gynecology Resident Physician Clinic
    • 20 S. Park St. / Madison, WI
    • (608) 287-5898
    • Closed now
    • Patients at this location receive care from Ob-Gyn resident physicians. Residents have completed medical school, are licensed in the state of Wisconsin and are training to be a specialist in Ob-Gyn. Often, a resident is able to spend more time with their patients. A UW faculty physician oversees all of their work. Nurses, medical assistants, social workers and other staff are also here to support you.

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  • 20 S. Park Clinic - Obstetrics and Gynecology, Suite 307
    • 20 S. Park St. / Madison, WI
    • (608) 287-2830
    • Closed now
    • UW Health obstetricians/gynecologists provide a broad range of basic and specialized medical and surgical services, ranging from primary gynecologic health care - health maintenance examinations, diagnosis and treatment of minor disorders of the female reproductive system - to advanced techniques in diagnosing and treating infertility problems and treating malignancies of the female genital tract.

    •  
      View hours, services and more
  • 20 S. Park Clinic - Obstetrics and Gynecology, Suite 506
    • 20 S. Park St. / Madison, WI
    • (608) 287-2830
    • Closed now
    • UW Health obstetricians/gynecologists provide a broad range of basic and specialized medical and surgical services, ranging from primary gynecologic health care - health maintenance examinations, diagnosis and treatment of minor disorders of the female reproductive system - to advanced techniques in diagnosing and treating infertility problems and treating malignancies of the female genital tract.

    •  
      View hours, services and more
  • Union Corners Clinic - Obstetrics and Gynecology
    • 2402 Winnebago Street / Madison, WI
    • (608) 242-6840
    • Closed now
    • UW Health obstetricians/gynecologists provide a broad range of basic and specialized medical and surgical services, ranging from primary gynecologic health care - health maintenance examinations, diagnosis and treatment of minor disorders of the female reproductive system - to advanced techniques in diagnosing and treating infertility problems and treating malignancies of the female genital tract.

    •  
      View hours, services and more

Related Services

Expertise and information you can trust

We offer services and information to help you when you’re dealing with endometriosis. At UW Health, we have a large team of specialists ready to help you. They assist with your care as needed.

Generations Fertility Care

Experts in our fertility clinic are here to help women with endometriosis who would like to have a baby. Sometimes women turn to the clinic when they’re unable to get pregnant. Clinic staff first diagnose endometriosis. Other times, even after treatment, pregnancy can be difficult. The clinic offers:

This treatment involves placing sperm directly into your uterus. It makes it easier for sperm to reach and fertilize an egg. Sometimes we combine this treatment with one that simulates the release of eggs from your ovaries.

This involves combining a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm in the lab. We transfer the fertilized egg into a woman’s uterus.

In rare cases, endometriosis is linked to cancer. For women who learn they have cancer, the UW Carbone Cancer Center offers complete care for patients.