Getting An MRI Scan For Endometriosis

MRI Scanning Machine

If you have never had an MRI, the idea of it can be terrifying for some, but in all honestly, it is an effortless procedure, and there is nothing to worry about.

If your doctor is concerned that you may have endometriosis, it is best to have an MRI and to pick up on any problems or abnormalities in the early stages.

We have all you need to know about an MRI Scan from start to finish. Hopefully, this makes you feel more comfortable about it all, and you’ll feel fully prepared, knowing what to expect!

MRI Scanning Machine

Why an MRI?

Your doctor will order an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to detect any sites of deep endometriosis in your pelvis. The MRI will help them in planning surgery. They can then surgically remove these sites, which should lessen your symptoms.

An MRI can detect sites that are very small, and it can help the doctors see deeper structures that ultrasound can’t properly detect.

An MRI can give doctors a closer look at your pelvic organs and your ovaries, the uterus, bowel, bladder, and surrounds.

You will likely be getting an MRI for endometriosis because you have very painful periods, feel pain during intercourse, feel pain with urination or bowel movements, or experience excessive bleeding.

Types of MRIs

There is the traditional MRI, which is the closed variety. The patient will lay down on a table that slides into the MRI machine in this case.

There is also an open type of MRI for persons who are claustrophobic in confined areas. However, it is not as common.

How To Prepare for the MRI

Be transparent with your doctor about any health conditions you may have. This should include any recent surgeries, allergies, or metal implants. 

Let them know if you are claustrophobic, they can give you medication to relax you, or they may recommend an open MRI.

Follow your doctor’s instructions. You should not eat or drink anything at least 4-6 hours before your MRI. You will also need to remove all metal objects from your body; this includes belts, watches, jewelry, and such.

What You Can Expect

When you arrive for your MRI, the hospital staff will first ask you to remove all of the metal on your body, and they may ask you to put a hospital gown on.

You will then be asked to lie down, on your back, on a table in front of the MRI machine. You will be given ear defenders; these cancel out the sounds from the MRI machine.

The technician will then put little devices around your hips; they are used to receive and send radio waves. You may also receive an intravenous dye, and this aids the technician in identifying tissues and internal body structures.

The table will slide right into the MRI machine when you are ready. The technician will then exit the room. There will be an intercom; this is how you and the technician will communicate.

You will not feel any pain or anything, and the MRI generally takes about 30-50 minutes.

What the MRI Shows

A pelvic MRI will show any endometrial growth on structures in your pelvis. Including your sex organs, like your vagina, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. It will also show your bladder and colon.

The MRI may reveal certain things that are signs of endometriosis, such as:

  • Adhesions: these would be dense bands of connective tissue and appear to tether pelvic structures.
  • Peritoneal implants: growths found along the wall of your abdomen.
  • Endometriomas: masses filled with major collections of fluid and blood.
  • Urinary tract lesions: lesions on your bladder can cause your bladder wall to thicken. This affects about 20% of people.

The MRI can also show any changes to the anatomical positioning of your pelvic structures. This includes abnormal loops, curves, or bends in the bowel. 

Ovaries are touching or are in close proximity, part of the vagina being elevated. The thickening of tendons, ligaments, or muscles in the pelvis or a displaced uterus.

MRI Scanner

Final Thoughts

Endometriosis is relatively common. Having an MRI is nothing to worry about, and it will merely give you all the information you need to get the proper treatment if anything abnormal comes up during the MRI.

It is the best thing you could do to help you manage your pain, and it will help give your doctor an idea of the course of treatment you need. 

This will either be hormonal treatment or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and a diagnostic and operative laparoscopy for worse cases.