Have we been waiting for an easy way to diagnose endometriosis (well, I know I have) and it already exists?!
Endometriosis is extremely difficult to diagnose, it takes an average of 10 years to be found effectively. Most women go unnoticed, and even ignored, for their symptoms. Wondering what endometriosis is and if you have it? Learn more about endometriosis.
The Current Diagnosis
The gold standard for the diagnosis of endometriosis is laparoscopy. That’s surgery. Surgery is no longer the recommended treatment for endometriosis, so unfortunately it’s no longer recommended for diagnosis. Trans-vaginal ultrasound can only be used to diagnose severe ovarian endometriosis. That leaves us without a way to diagnose the condition, and on the search for a non-invasive diagnostic method – like a blood test!
My problem with endometriosis is that since there isn’t an “easy” diagnosis, the symptoms are not taken seriously, the treatment is not taken seriously, and the women who suffer from it are not taken seriously. Endometriosis has severe implications. It affects the quality of life of 1 in 10 women, and is one of the leading causes of infertility. We NEED to know if women have the condition, so that they can be treated properly. There may not be a lot that can be offered by conventional medicine, but there are a whole lot of treatment options in the naturopathic world.
CA-125 Blood Test
This brings me to the blood test we can use for diagnosis, right now! It’s called CA-125. It’s a protein in the blood associated with ovarian cancer and pelvic inflammation, particularily endometriosis.
The test is best performed in the follicular phase of your cycle, between the time when your period stops and when ovulation begins.
How do we interpret the results of the CA-125 blood test?
A positive test is anything over 36. A positive tests rules IN endometriosis, because it is a detector of pelvic inflammation. However, a negative test does NOT rule out endometriosis. You might still have endo if it’s negative, this test just isn’t definitive. Less severe and less invasive endometriosis may not be detected by the blood test. A positive test = endometriosis (as long as ovarian cancer has been ruled out with an ultrasound).
The Bottom Line:
It’s a noninvasive test that costs about $40 and it could provide you with the answers that you deserve, and will inform better treatment!
Ruan, Y. Q., Liang, W. G., & Huang, S. H. (2015). Analysis of laparoscopy on endometriosis patients with high expression of CA125. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci, 19(8), 1334-7.
Kurdoglu, Z., Gursoy, R., Kurdoglu, M., Erdem, M., Erdem, O., & Erdem, A. (2009). Comparison of the clinical value of CA 19-9 versus CA 125 for the diagnosis of endometriosis. Fertility and sterility, 92(5), 1761-1763.
de Sá Rosa, A. C. J., e Silva, J. C. R., Nogueira, A. A., Petta, C. A., Abrão, M. S., & Ferriani, R. A. (2006). The levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device reduces CA-125 serum levels in patients with endometriosis. Fertility and sterility, 86(3), 742-744.