MRI for Endometriosis (with Gel Instillation) Explained – My Experience

MRI for Endometriosis (with Gel Instillation) Explained – My Experience

I have had endometriosis symptoms since my first period. Yet, I heard about this disease for the first time only 17 years later, when I was 28 years old. I went through my first surgery in 2014 and then through another one in 2016. This second intervention also included a bowel resection.

My second surgery was performed in Timisoara, at Endo Institute, a complex center ran by dr. Voicu Simedrea. Before this 2016 intervention, I also had an MRI for endometriosis: with intrarectal and intravaginal gel instillation.

Here you can find a complex article about this medical investigation. There you have all the necessary information and an interview with Dr. Denisa Tisea, Primary Physician in Radiology and Medical Imaging, a doctor with a large experience in reading MRI for endometriosis.

In this present article, I would like to tell you more about my experience with this type of MRI for endometriosis. I mention my MRI was interpreted by dr. Tisea.

Intrarectal and intravaginal gel instillation MRI for endometriosis – what is the protocol to follow?

On December 2015, dr. Simedrea diagnosed me with endometriosis stage IV. The diagnosis was based on the medical anamnesis, gynecological consult and ultrasound – I had a 4.5 endometriosic nodule on my colon.

Then, he recommended me an MRI for endometriosis – with intrarectal and intravaginal gel instillation.

I did this investigation at a private clinic from Bucharest, the capital city of Romania. My doctor indicated me that specific clinic because the results were interpreted there by a doctor from his team, dr. Tisea. Dr. Denisa Tisea is specialized in this type of MRI.

When I called for scheduling, I received all the necessary information: they told me I had to be in a certain period of menstrual cycle, what not to eat a day before the investigation, information about the micro enema I had to do in the morning of my MRI etc. Read here what happens if you have spotting and bleeding and more specific information about the diet you need to follow in this context.

As dr. Tisea told us in our previous article about MRI, you also have to check your Creatinine level (the kidney function).

MRI for Endometriosis  - the necessary stages prior to "the gel instillation step"

I bought the micro enema from the pharmacy. It’s small, it looks like a nose drops bottle and the procedure is not painful at all.

When I arrived at the clinic (I lived in another city back then), I had a form to fill out with information about me, my disease, my doctor etc.

Before the MRI to start, I was asked to get undressed and I was given a thin robe and some slippers. Then, I had to wear a some kind of special “vest” for MRI and the investigation started. Five minutes before, the nurse also gave me a No Spa or some other anti spastic pill, I don’t remember exactly what was it.

For those of you who haven’t had an MRI before (as it was also my case), do not panic because of those specific sounds. They are part of the MRI exam process.

Before entering the MRI machine, the nurse put me a catheter (where she will introduce later the contrast agent).

For this type of MRI you enter the machine completely, but the head (the forehead more precisely) is a little bit out. I tell you this detail as I believe this MRI is “better tolerated” for those who are a little bit afraid of tight spaces.

!! Here you can find more useful article, part of my Endometriosis Journal Section!!

Before the MRI for endometriosis to start, the nurse also offered me some precious extra advice:  to try not to move, to stay as still as I can especially during those noises, the duration of each step of the MRI: the beginning part, the contrast agent part, the intrarectal and intravaginal gel instillation part etc.

Then, the MRI started and I stayed in the machine for about 20-25 minute. Then, the nurse came; she took me out of the MRI and introduced the contrast agent through that catheter. Besides a little dizziness I felt nothing. Afterwards, I stayed in the machine some other 20 minutes, then the nurse came and introduced that gel into the vagina and rectum.

I don’t know many things about that gel, but I can tell you it is instilled with an instrument that resembles a syringe without needle.

This step of the actual instillation does not hurt at all!  

MRI for endometriosis – how unpleasant is this step of intrarectal and intravaginal gel instillation?

Many patients are afraid of this gel instillation. You don’t feel the gel in the vagina. As for the rectal part, you do have a slightly uncomfortable feeling. It is like you want to go to the bathroom.
You have to “hold on” this feeling for only 10 minutes.

I was again introduced in the MRI machine and I stayed like this for about 10 minute. Yes, these 10 minutes were the most unpleasant ones from the whole MRI process, but it is nothing you can’t handle.

Afterwards, they took me out of the machine, sent me directly to the bathroom and in another 10 minutes I was ready to go home.

If you do the MRI in another city, not the one you are living in, my advice is to come by car or to ask a friend to help you. Although the procedure is not painful, it is indeed a little bit stressful and you need to arrive home as soon as possible, to drink water and to relax.

How to handle better that “MRI hour” – some tips & tricks

To be as relaxed as possible and to follow all the recommendation, I stayed with my eyes closed, I said some prayers and I tried to keep my mind busy. If you concentrate on what you hear, what you see inside that capsule, what’s hurting you or what you believe it is hurting you, you will lose your temper.

The result of the MRI is “hard to read” by a patient and can have as a further recommendation, another investigation: Hidro Colo-CT

My MRI images were sent to Timisoara, at dr. Tisea. The doctor interpreted them and sent me the conclusion by email, in 3-4 days. I mention I could pick up the actual MRI films afterwards when I went to the clinic again. The images and conclusion were also sent to my doctor, dr. Voicu Simedrea.   

My MRI results showed very clear I needed surgery as soon as possible. They indicated where were located more exactly my endometriosic lesions. These were of much interest and help for my doctor.

The reading was 1 and a half page long, it included a lot of medical terms and only after my discussion with dr. Voicu Simedrea, I understood my situation completely.
As an extra information, afterwards I also went through a Hidro Colo-CT. This is another useful exam in endometriosis. Because I have asthma and some allergies, I couldn’t do it with the contrast agent. Therefore, in my case, the Hidro Colo-CT did not show much extra information.

It is important to keep in mind that for endometriosis, colonoscopy is not a relevant medical investigation. The endometriosis lesions and nodules tend to form from the outside of the colon – that’s why you need an MRI and a Hidro Colo-CT, not a colonoscopy.

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This is my experience with the MRI for endometriosis – with intrarectal and intravaginal gel instillation. As long as you have a good doctor, specialized in endometriosis, and he recommends you this investigation, do it!

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Author Marina Rasnoveanu Marina's articles Marina Rasnoveanu

Editor, Endometriosis patient, but very well now thanks to my doctor and my way of living. I am passionate about health & healthy living, writing and researching a lot in the past years on these topics. Here I will write articles, recipes, interviews, studies and all sorts of materials about dieting, endometriosis and health.

Any donation helps us keep writing! Support The Healthy Journal!