Endometriosis is a condition that affects the ability of women of reproductive age to conceive. The disease often shows symptoms like pain during intercourse, abnormal bleeding, painful periods, and pelvic pain. The condition can be asymptomatic, so experts refer to it as silent endometriosis. Due to its asymptomatic nature, many patients may experience issues like infertility for years before understanding the cause.
If you have difficulty conceiving but don’t have other side effects, visit a fertility specialist to examine the possibility of silent endometriosis. Endometriosis is progressive. If it is detected early, you have a higher chance of successful treatment and fertility. The experts use various methods to detect silent endometriosis, like medical imaging and hormonal testing.
Here are some methods experts use to test for asymptomatic endometriosis:
Undiagnosed endometriosis can be the root cause of unexplained fertility issues. Your fertility specialist can start with a pelvic exam to establish if you have any cysts formed or inflamed uterine lining.
The doctor manually examines the pelvis area for abnormalities. They use their sense of touch to palpate or feel cysts on or around your reproductive organs. Endometriosis can sometimes be impossible to feel in small areas unless the condition has caused the formation of cysts.
Your fertility specialist can use a transvaginal ultrasound to test for endometriosis. This test captures images of the uterine and vaginal walls using high-frequency sound waves.
To create images of the female reproductive organs, doctors press a transducer against your abdomen. When done on the outside, the ultrasound is known as a sonogram, effectively revealing cyst masses. Your doctor can insert it into your vagina to get the best view of the interior walls.
Ultrasound imaging helps identify cysts on the vaginal or uterine wall associated with endometriomas. The presence of cysts may indicate the onset or early stages of endometriosis and explain infertility.
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test creates images of the reproductive system using radio and magnetic field waves. MRI scans are more detailed and offer better information about the organs and tissues. The fertility specialist learns about the size and positioning of the endometrial mass. Such information is helpful for the surgeon to plan how they can retrieve the mass or cyst.
To better view your abdomen, your doctor might recommend laparoscopy. In this method, you must go under general anesthesia, after which a surgeon makes an incision below the navel. They then place a laparoscope, a tiny viewing instrument, around your uterus through the incision. This procedure helps doctors check for signs of endometrial tissue in the uterus.
With the laparoscopy procedure, the surgeon can get detailed information about the size, extent, and location of endometrial implants. They can take out a sample tissue for biopsy to help with endometriosis treatment.
Endometrial implant development affects the hormone composition within the reproductive system. Fertility specialists test for specific hormones to facilitate diagnosis. Some of the hormone testing examples include:
Cancer Antigen 25 (CA-125): The test measures the protein CA-125 content in the blood. Present proteins often constitute more cancerous cells than normal ones, so the test is done as a tumor marker. This test monitors certain cancers like ovarian cancers that can cause infertility. CA-125 tests the presence of uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and ovarian cysts.
BCL-6 Testing: BCL6 is a protein present in patients with endometriosis. Patients with positive BCL6 results may experience inflammation often linked with the development of a mass. The presence of BCL6 hormones limits the embryo’s ability to stick to the patient’s endometrial lining. Such conditions create huge fertility issues and affect the success chances of alternative reproductive methods like IVF.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) Testing: FSH levels in women are the highest right before ovulation and often stimulate the growth and oocytes from the ovaries. When the FSH levels are abnormally high, but the patients still experience infertility, it can indicate endometriosis. Your doctor must follow up with immunological testing to confirm the results.
Cytokine Production: Cytokine is an inflammatory marker in the human body. Elevated levels of cytokine indicate you may have inflammation within the reproductive system. If there is inflammation in the uterus, it is likely caused by endometriosis.
Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Testing – The AMH hormone is a marker for oocyte levels in the ovarian reserve. Low levels of Anti-Mullerian hormone might indicate the presence of endometrial mass.
Work With the Best Fertility Specialist to Treat Silent Endometriosis
While endometriosis can have painful side effects, it is occasionally asymptomatic This results in unexplained infertility among such patients, so the only way to diagnose the condition is through testing. After diagnosis, the doctor can develop a complete treatment plan with the patient. Work with the best fertility specialist to test and treat silent endometriosis.