What Is Adenomyosis?
Adenomyosis is a condition in which the inner lining of the uterus (normal endometrial tissue) – which is the functional portion of the uterus during every menstrual cycle grows outside the endometrial cavity into the uterine muscle wall (the myometrium).
Common Signs and Symptoms
Most cases of adenomyosis cause no symptoms at all. However, some women might present the following symptoms:
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Prolonged menstrual bleeding
- Severe pelvic pain and cramping during menstruation
- Uterus enlargement, causing an increase of pressure in your lower abdomen
Although the main cause of adenomyosis remains unknow, experts have established some theories that try to explain this condition. Some doctors think that adenomyosis is caused by a direct invasion of the endometrial cells into the muscle walls of the uterus and other experts suspect that adenomyosis is formed during the uterus formation in the fetus.
In any case, there are some risk factors established for this condition, including:
- Adenomyosis is more frequent in women during their 40s and 50s
- Prior uterine surgery
- Multiple childbirth
- Estrogen excess
The diagnosis of adenomyosis used to be a diagnosis of exclusion. MRI scan in recent times and also ultrasound scans in expert hands can diagnose the condition quite well. Actually, the definitive way to make a proper diagnosis is through the examination of the uterine tissue after a hysterectomy.
As adenomyosis usually presents symptoms during the period of life close to menopause, and the symptoms will disappear after menopause, in most cases the treatment is more conservative. However, if you are diagnosed with adenomyosis at a younger age or have severe symptoms, there are a number of treatment options including:
- Anti-inflammatory medicine and pain killers – to be taken during your periods and to reduce the pain.
- Hormone combined therapy. Using the combination of estrogen and progestin pills can help you to reduce the heavy bleeding and lessen pain during your period.
- Hysterectomy – This is the last option, but if your symptoms are severe or haven’t shown any improvement after conservative treatments, your doctor might suggest a hysterectomy.