Pelvic Exam for Endometriosis
With a pelvic exam, your doctor is able to determine the size and position of the
pelvic organs .
Endometriosis may cause abnormal growths in the
uterus, the vagina, the ovaries, the area between the uterus and rectum
(cul-de-sac), and the strong bands of tissue (ligaments) that attach to the
uterus to hold it in place.
Why It Is Done
A pelvic exam is done if
endometriosis is suspected. It is the first step used to determine whether
endometriosis is the cause of bothersome symptoms.
Results of a pelvic exam may include the
Pelvic exam is normal.
- No abnormal tissue is found in the area
between the uterus and rectum (cul-de-sac) or in the ligaments that hold the
uterus in place.
- No pelvic pain or tenderness is
- No hardening of tissue (induration) is
- The uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries are normal in size
- The uterus can be moved slightly without causing
may point to endometriosis include the following:
- Your doctor may not be able to
move the uterus even slightly during the exam, meaning that scar tissue
(adhesions) may be binding the uterus.
- You have pain or tenderness
when the uterus is moved slightly.
Outside of the uterus
Results that may point to endometriosis include the following:
- You have pain when the area between the
uterus and rectum is touched.
- Abnormal tissue is felt near the
uterus or between the uterus and rectum.
- The ovaries are painful
when touched, are enlarged, or are not movable. This means that adhesions
may be holding the ovaries in place.
- Hardening of tissue is
- The folds of skin around the opening of the vagina (external
genitalia, labia) have small bluish bumps (lesions).
- Lesions are
present on the surface of the vagina or cervix.
What To Think About
Your pelvic exam can be normal,
even when endometriosis is present.
If your symptoms strongly
suggest endometriosis, and pain is your primary concern, your doctor may recommend trying hormone therapy (such as birth control pills)
to see whether your symptoms improve. Or, if your doctor suspects
severe endometriosis or another pelvic problem, or if you are trying to get
pregnant, you may need
laparoscopy to confirm the diagnosis.
Complete the medical test information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this test.
Primary Medical Reviewer
||Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
||Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
||July 7, 2011