At the time of publication, no. Or at least not one that can diagnose endometriosis on its own.
“There is not presently a blood test in clinical use for diagnosing endometriosis at this moment,” says Monte Swarup, MD, OB-GYN, founder of the leading health information site Vaginal Health Hub.
There’s a blood test known as a CA-125 test, which can test for biomarkers that tend to be higher in people with endometriosis than those without it, says Laura Purdy, MD, OB-GYN, chief medical officer at Wisp, a telehealth platform focused on sexual and reproductive health.
But “these bio-marker blood tests have generally been found to be insufficient for diagnosing endometriosis, especially as compared to other diagnostic methods,” she says.
The CA-125 test checks levels of a blood protein known as CA-125.
It was originally designed to check an individual’s likelihood of having certain gynecological cancers.
In some cases, people with endometriosis have higher levels of CA-125, so it may also be used to indicate an individual’s likelihood of having the condition.
But the CA-125 test
CA-125 levels may also be increased during menstruation, pregnancy, and in the presence of other noncancerous gynecologic conditions, explains Purdy.
In other words, endometriosis isn’t the only reason an individual’s levels of CA-125 may be high.
What does the research say?
Although researchers agree that a blood test would be a cheaper and less invasive diagnostic tool, the
The gold standard for endometriosis diagnosis is laparoscopy.
A laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that involves making small incisions along the abdomen, explains Swarup. Your surgeon will then insert a tiny tube and camera (known as a laparoscope) into the incisions and “poke around.”
Here, the goal is to get a good look at your insides and see if there are any endometriosis-induced adhesions, scars, or other unusual tissues.
If your surgeon finds tissues they suspect are endometriosis-related, they may take a sampling of the tissue (biopsy) for further investigation.
Most people can go home from laparoscopy the same day. “For the next 2 days you may feel tired and a bit sore, but you should be able to resume most activities after 2 to 3 days,” says Swarup.
Some clinicians prefer to use less invasive modes of diagnosis, like an ultrasound or MRI.
An ultrasound uses sound waves to produce an image of the body’s internal structures.
“An ultrasound can determine if you have endometrioma, which is endometriosis of the ovary,” says Heather Jeffcoat, a doctor of physical therapy who specializes in sexual dysfunction and incontinence and author of “Sex Without Pain: A Self-Treatment Guide to the Sex Life You Deserve.”
It can’t determine if you have endometriosis elsewhere in your pelvis or abdomen.
Similarly, an MRI can only detect endometrial growths that are deeper in the body or deep infiltrating endometriosis.
“If you believe that your symptoms may be indicative of endometriosis, seek out a medical professional in your area or through a telehealth platform,” says Purdy.
Ideally, a provider who specializes in trauma-informed endometriosis care, adds Jeffcoat.
After you consult a healthcare professional about your symptoms and concerns, “they’ll be able to determine the best next steps for getting the diagnosis and treatment you need,” says Purdy.
There isn’t a blood test that can diagnose endometriosis. Currently, the only way to diagnose endometriosis is through a surgical procedure called laparoscopy.
You and your clinician may opt for less invasive options like ultrasound and MRI, which are not fool-proof but may give you additional information about your health.
Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a queer sex educator and wellness journalist who is committed to helping people feel the best they can in their bodies. In addition to Healthline, her work has appeared in publications such as Shape, Cosmopolitan, Well+Good, Health, Self, Women’s Health, Greatist, and more! In her free time, Gabrielle can be found coaching CrossFit, reviewing pleasure products, hiking with her border collie, or recording episodes of the podcast she co-hosts called Bad In Bed. Follow her on Instagram @Gabriellekassel.