Adenomyosis is a medical condition when the cells lining the inside of the uterus (endometrial cells) also grow into the muscle of the uterus. It is similar to endometriosis in this respect but the cells in endometriosis are outside of the uterus in the pelvis as opposed to adenomyosis where they are in the actual muscle wall of the uterus.
These endometrial cells continue to grow, breakdown and bleed during each menstrual cycle just as if they were in their usual location and it is this process that causes the uterus to be bulkier (larger) than usual, often with heavy painful periods and or painful intercourse as a side effect.
What causes Adenomyosis?
There is no definite cause for adenomyosis but symptoms most often start late in the childbearing years after having children and usually settles after the menopause. 50% of women also have fibroids
What are the symptoms of Adenomyosis?
- Heavy or prolonged periods
- Painful periods
- Worsening period cramps
- Painful intercourse
- Larger uterus (lower abdominal swelling)
How do you diagnose Adenomyosis?
Adenomyosis is usually suspected from a combination of symptoms, examination findings (bulky tender uterus) and imaging findings (ultrasound or MRI). The definitive diagnosis is made from the tissue of the uterus after a hysterectomy
How do you treat Adenomyosis?
For women who experience severe discomfort from adenomyosis, certain treatments such as hormonal treatments (Oral Contraceptive pills, Mirena) and non steroidals anti-inflammatories (Pain killers) can help, but hysterectomy usually with conservation of the ovaries is the only cure.