What is Adenomyosis?

Have you ever heard of Adenomyosis?

Have you ever heard of adenomyosis? It’s pretty common, however, not many of us have come across it.

The National Health Service (NHS) state that adenomyosis affects 1 in 10 women and is most common in women aged 40 - 50, only affecting 20% of women below the age of 40.

It is similar to endometriosis, however, the cells that line the uterus grow into the wall rather than outside of the uterus. The cells respond to the natural order of the menstrual cycle and thicken, breakdown, and bleed. However, they remain inside of the uterus wall and this can cause inflammation and pain.

A study has shown that adenomyosis may cause infertility problems. Information taken from the NHS reports that miscarriages and early deliveries may be due to adenomyosis. Everyone’s experience of adenomyosis differs, some experience mild pain and others can have extreme pain and discomfort. Around one third of women will experience no symptoms at all. It is possible to have adenomyosis and endometriosis.

Painful cramps
heavy periods
Painful sex
Chronic pelvic pain
Prolonged periods
Bleeding between periods
Infertility
Bloating
Enlarged and sore uterus
Feeling pressure on the bladder and rectum
Pain while having a poo

Symptoms of adenomyosis may go away or reduce following menopause because estrogen levels will drop.

Causes Of Adenomyosis

It is unknown why adenomyosis happens, however, it is thought that it may be connected to,

  • Having more than one child
  • Using anti-depressants for a prolonged period of time
  • Those who have had an injury e.g. following a c-section or surgery
  • Abortion
  • Hormones, the immune system, and genes

 

Diagnosing Adenomyosis

Adenomyosis can be diagnosed through a

  • Pelvic exam to check for soreness, bloating, and cysts
  • MRI scan can see the lining of the uterus
  • Internal transvaginal ultrasound scan. A probe is inserted into the vagina and images of your uterus are viewed on a screen

Treatment Option for Adenomyosis

The treatment for adenomyosis is similar to that of endometriosis where the treatment is used to address the symptoms rather than a cure. Options include,

  • Pain relief - anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen
  • Hormonal medications, for example, oral contraceptive pills, progestin IUD's, or injection (Depo-Provera)
  • Exercise, for example, yoga, swimming, or walking
  • Applying heat
  • Injectable medications can start false or temporary menopause. This isn’t an option for everyone and can only be used for a period of time
  • Uterine artery embolisation involves placing a tube in a major artery in the groin and injecting small particles into the area affected by adenomyosis. This stops the blood supply reaching the affected area which will shrink the adenomyosis and reduce symptoms
  • Removing the uterus (hysterectomy). This is the only definitive treatment for adenomyosis. However, once this procedure is done it is irreversible and no longer possible to get pregnant 
  • Using a TENS machine (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)

Wrapping it Up

Adenomyosis is not life-threatening but can cause painful, uncomfortable, and unpleasant symptoms.

There are treatment options that can help alleviate the pain and discomfort, including things that you can do for yourself at home, such as applying a hot water bottle, taking pain killers, and exercise.

If you’re experiencing pain, irregular bleeding, and problems getting pregnant, as well as the other symptoms discussed, it’s a good idea to book in with your doctor and get the help and advice that you need.


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