Endometriosis is a condition where a tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of it, causing pain and other symptoms. But many people don’t realize there is a type of endometriosis that is often “silent,” meaning it does not cause any symptoms. Let’s explore silent endometriosis and what it means for a person.
What is Silent Endometriosis?
Silent endometriosis, also known as asymptomatic endometriosis, is a condition in which the endometriosis tissue does not cause any pain or other symptoms. This may sound like an oxymoron—how can something be endometriosis if it doesn’t cause pain? But this type of endometriosis occurs more often than you might think. Up to 25% of women with endometriosis have no symptoms. Diagnosis only happens when they have infertility or have another surgery in their pelvis or abdomen.
It’s important to note that silent endometriosis does not mean the condition won’t eventually become symptomatic. Sometimes, silent endometriosis can become symptomatic (painful) endometriosis over time. That’s why people need to be aware of this condition and get tested for it if they experience any signs or symptoms.
How Is Silent Endometriosis Diagnosed?
The only way to diagnose silent endometriosis definitively is through laparoscopic surgery and biopsy. During this procedure, a doctor will make incisions in your abdomen and insert a tiny camera into it so they can see inside your body and examine any endometriosis lesions or growths on your organs. They may also take samples from these lesions for further testing to determine whether or not they are cancerous or benign (noncancerous). However, due to the invasive nature of this procedure, many doctors will only recommend it if signs or symptoms of endometriosis are present.
Silent endometriosis is an often overlooked form of endometriosis due to its lack of obvious signs and symptoms. While some people may never experience any issues related to their silent endometriosis diagnosis, some silent endometriosis can turn into symptomatic conditions.