- Signs and symptoms.
- The pelvic examination that reveals enlarged, tender uterus.
- Ultrasound imaging of the uterus to examine pockets of the uterus lining tissue in the muscle of the uterus.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the uterus to see inner muscle.
- Endometrial biopsy: Taking a small sample of the endometrial tissue in the uterus for testing.
- Anti-inflammatory medications: Such as ibuprofen reduces adenomyosis pain and discomfort.
- Hormonal medications: Like oral contraceptive pills, progestin IUD’s or injection (Depo-Provera) can help lessen the symptoms.
- Injectable medications: These medications induce false or temporary menopause. They are, however, only suitable for short-term use and are not appropriate for long-term use.
- Uterine artery embolization: A tube is placed in a major artery in the groin, through which small particles are injected into the area affected by adenomyosis. This stops the blood supply to the affected area. This shrinks the adenomyosis and reduces symptoms.
- Hysterectomy: The sole definitive treatment for adenomyosis is the complete removal of the uterus.
Generally, adenomyosis symptoms include:
- Heavy and/or prolonged menstrual bleeding.
- Severe menstrual cramps.
- Abdominal pressure and bloating.
- Sharp, knifelike pelvic pain during menstruation.
- Chronic pelvic pain.
- Painful intercourse.
- Spotting between periods.
- Longer than normal menstrual cycles.
- Formation of blood clots during menstrual bleeding.
- Enlarged and tender uterus.
- A sensation of pressure on the bladder and rectum.
- Painful bowel movement.
The exact causes of adenomyosis are unknown. There are several theories, which includes:
- Invasive tissue growth: It is believed that endometrial cells from the lining of the uterus invade the muscle that forms the uterine walls, and incisions made during surgeries like caesarean section (C-section) might promote direct invasion of endometrial cells into the wall of the uterus.
- Developmental origins: There’s also the suspicion of endometrial tissue being deposited in the uterine muscle when the uterus is first formed in the foetus.
- Uterine inflammation related to childbirth: A theory suggests a link between adenomyosis and childbirth due to the inflammation of the uterine lining during the postpartum period, which may cause a breakdown in the normal boundary of cells that line the uterus.
Stem cell origins: A recent theory proposes that stem cells from the bone marrow might invade the uterine muscle, thereby causing adenomyosis
Who is likely to get adenomyosis?
Adenomyosis has also been found in adolescents, it, however, typically occurs in women between the ages of 35 and 50 who have:
- Had at least one pregnancy.
- Once had endometriosis.
- Uterine fibroids.
- Prior uterine surgery.
What is the difference between adenomyosis and endometriosis?
For adenomyosis, cells lining the uterus develop into the uterus muscle. As for endometriosis, these cells develop outside of the uterus, at times on the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
What are the risk factors of adenomyosis?
The risk factors of adenomyosis include:
- Previous uterine surgery, like C-section, fibroid removal or dilatation and curettage (D&C).
- Middle age.
- Age: Mostly occurring in women in their 40s and 50s.
- Pregnancy: A high proportion of women with adenomyosis have had multiple pregnancies.
What is the outlook of an adenomyosis?
The outlook of adenomyosis is excellent. Though, it’s not a life-threatening condition, it can cause severe discomfort.
Adenomyosis usually go away when a woman reaches menopause. In the time being, there are available treatments that can help alleviate the symptoms.
Are there any complications of adenomyosis?
If a woman with adenomyosis experiences prolonged, heavy bleeding during her periods, she can develop chronic anaemia, which leads to fatigue and other health problems.
Also, the pain and excessive bleeding associated with adenomyosis can disrupt a person’s lifestyle.
Adenomyosis has also been related to anxiety, depression and irritability.
Are there any lifestyle or home remedies for adenomyosis?
To ease pelvic pain and cramping caused by adenomyosis, you can try these tips:
- Soak yourself in a warm bath.
- Use a heating pad on your abdominal area.
- Use pain killers.