Today in clinical I was able to observe a diagnostic laparoscopy to diagnose a patient’s pelvic pain. This teenage patient has been suffering from debilitating pelvic pain for several months. Her symptoms point to endometriosis, but the only way to diagnose this is through visualization, hence the laparoscopic procedure.
It was pretty amazing to see the inside of her body on a big screen. I kind of felt like I was on the “Magic School Bus” taking a field trip through the reproductive system! So yes, I was psyched. I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for. But soon I started seeing little red splotches on her tissue. These little spots were indeed endometriosis. The more we looked around, the more they appeared. Dr. P explained that endometriosis is like the acne of the pelvis… meaning you can’t just zap every little blemish and it needs to be treated systemically.
Dr. P also did a test to determine if our patient has interstitial cystitis (which causes chronic bladder pain). She infused 500cc of saline into her uterus through a catheter to assess if bleeding would occur. Unfortunately our young patient appears to have IC too. So her chronic pelvic pain is very real.
Now that we know the cause of our patient’s chronic pain we can start treating her and hopefully she will be able to live as a normal teen again.