Adenomyosis is a disease where the epithelial tissue from the uterus lining starts to grow into uterine walls and muscle tissues. In most cases, women do not understand that they are going through some underlying issue because it has very generic symptoms. Adenomyosis is not a life threatening disease and is usually not cancerous but it can cause problems in your sex life. It can also lead to various difficulties in conceiving a baby. This condition is more common in middle aged women and those who have a history of other problems related to uterus. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Astha Dayal, Consultant, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Meddo Dr. Astha Dayal Health Center, about the symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment of adenomyosis.
Symptoms of adenomyosis can vary and rare and hence many women are not able to identify the disease. Most women ignore these symptoms and fail to understand the reason for symptoms like heavy bleeding, painful bleeding and irregular periods. Here are the most common symptoms of adenomyosis:
Menstruation is closely related to pain. Most women experience pain and discomfort. Little pain is quiet normal but extreme pain can be an indication that the individual is having some issue with their reproductive system. If you experience excruciating pain during your cycles, you must see a gynaecologist.
Menorrhagia refers to heavy and prolonged bleeding during periods. Any bleeding that exceeds more than 6 days can be harmful for you. Heavy bleeding can be a symptom of adenomyosis. But it can also happen due other underlying reasons such as IUD's and hormonal imbalance so you need to get a proper diagnosis.
3. Painful Intercourse
Painful intercourse can also be an indication that says you might be suffering from adenomyosis. This should be reported to the doctor immediately because it can happen due to other reasons as well. One should not be shy when dealing with sexual issues and talk about it so that they could reach a way out.
Infertility is another symptom of adenomyosis and it is quite generic. But, if you not able to conceive even after several attempts, you may want to see a gynaecologist for the same.
Also read: 7 Reasons for an Agonising Menstrual Pain
5. Enlarged uterus
Your examiner may notice that you have an enlarged uterus, which might also result in pelvic pain. This is not a reason to panic but you can try consulting your doctor if you face more of these issues.
There are no specific causes known as to what exactly is the reason of this disease but this disease is associated with growth of endometrium into uterine walls. Certain conditions increase that increase risks of this disease and are discussed below:
This disease is more common in women who have been through at least one pregnancy. Most of the risks are associated with C-sections and multiple miscarriages. It is suggested that the incision can be a reason of invasion and abnormal growth of endometrium tissue in the uterine muscles. Women who have a history of surgeries or fibroids that have been operated are at higher risks.
There is no strong theory to prove it but women with a history of endometriosis are more prone to adenomyosis. It mostly happens due to tissue injury and repair. It is also suggested that it can be carried down to next generation. Some studies also insist that it is also associated with origin of tissues in fetal stages of women.
Adenomyosis is also associated with age. Mostly women who develop this extra growth in their uterus are in their mid thirties and older. Women who have hormonal issues are also more prone to adenomyosis. Increassed levels of estrogen can also increase the risk of adenomyosis.
As we discussed that adenomyosis has very generic symptoms, it becomes very necessary to diagnose the disease through proper screenings. The symptoms of this disease are very similar to fibroids and hormonal imbalance. Here's how the diagnosis of adenomyosis is done:
Ultrasound imaging can help the examiner to get the exact thickness of uterine walls. A thickened wall might indicate that the woman is suffering from adenomyosis. Other imaging techniques like MRI can also be performed as per the requirement.
Biopsy is a test that confirms that the growth is malignant and not cancerous. Biopsy is done only after complete removal of uterus from the body. It is only possible in the case when the woman is not planning to have any more pregnancies.
3. Pelvic examination
Pelvic examination can also help in suspecting the underlying causes. Examiner might find that the uterus is more tender, bigger and painful. Thought it alone doesn't confirm a disease but it is a part of initial diagnosis.
Most of the symptoms of adenomyosis vanish after menopause, so in most cases it is managed using various medications, so that the women can cope up with daily activities. Here is the treatment of adenomyosis:
1. Pain killers
Painkillers do not treat the situation but it can give you relief from cramping. Pelvic pain can sometimes disturb your daily activities. It can also be prescribed to beused just during the menstrual cycles when the pain is much more severe and unbearable.
Estrogen helps in thickening of uterine walls, so that it can prepare the uterus for the baby. Certain medications are given to the women which regulate the production of estrogen. Birth control pills and intra Uterine devices usually help with heavy bleeding.
3. Surgical removal
Surgical removal of uterus is also a solution for women who do not plan to have more babies in future. After the removal of uterus you won't be getting your cycles and most of the symptoms will be taken care of. Surgical removal is preferred only by women in late 40's who have already stopped menstruating.
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