What is Adenomyosis?
Adenomyosis is when the cells lining the uterus (endometrial cells) also grow into the muscular wall of the uterus. It is similar to endometriosis in this respect but the cells in endometriosis are outside of the uterus elsewhere in the pelvis as opposed to adenomyosis where they are in the actual muscle wall of the uterus.
These endometrial cells continues to grow, breakdown and bleed during each menstrual cycle just as if they were in there 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.
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).
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 can help, but hysterectomy with conservation of the ovaries (usually laparoscopically or robotic) is the only cure.