Endometriosis involving the intestine usually takes the form of asymptomatic, small, superficial serosal implants on segments of bowel lying in the pelvis in proximity to the genital organs. Deeper and more extensive intestinal wall involvement may result in obstruction and occasionally bleeding and requires distinction from a neoplasm or other inflammatory bowel process. Intestinal endometriosis should be considered in the differential diagnosis of recurring lower abdominal pain and other episodic bowel symptoms in women of child-bearing age. The diagnosis may be suspected based on the patient's history and frequently associated gynecologic symptoms. Due to the extramucosal location of the endometrioma, preoperative evaluation is unlikely to establish the diagnosis with certainty. Intestinal involvement by endometriosis, to the degree that it produces symptoms, almost always requires excision. Asymptomatic serosal lesions found incidentally at celiotomy for other disease should be biopsied and the diagnosis confirmed by frozen section. Symptomatic disease should be treated by resection of the involved intestine or by local excision, if the latter is feasible, and primary colon carcinoma can be excluded with confidence. Decisions regarding concurrent treatment for the underlying endometriosis should be made after consultation with an experienced gynecologist and must be based on the patient's menstrual status, age, and desire for future pregnancy.
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