<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=146446474297088&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Understanding Adenomyosis: Everything You Need to Know

Do you experience heavy, painful periods alongside pelvic pain and fertility issues? You could be suffering from adenomyosis. 

Often referred to as endometriosis’s lesser-known twin, adenomyosis is a complex uterine complaint with serious implications for overall health and well-being. It’s not rare either. Studies show that as many as 1 in 5 women live with adenomyosis.

The more you know about your uterine health, the more you can do the protect it. Enhancing your understanding can help you get to know your body and identify issues when they arise. 

Could you be experiencing adenomyosis? Read on to find out more about the condition, and contact a medical professional if you have concerns about your health.


What is Adenomyosis?

Adenomyosis is a health condition causing endometrial tissue to grow into the muscular wall of the uterus. 

The displaced tissue continues to behave normally, progressing through a full menstrual cycle of thickening, breaking down, and bleeding. This process can result in uterine enlargement, causing painful, heavy periods. 


Download our Simple Guide to Adenomyosis


Adenomyosis Symptoms

Symptoms associated with adenomyosis include:

  • Heavy or prolonged menstrual periods
  • Passing blood clots during periods
  • Severe menstrual cramping
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Chronic ongoing pelvic pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Pain during intercourse 
  • Infertility issues
  • Fatigue 

In some cases, adenomyosis may lead to secondary anaemia due to excessive blood loss. In severe cases, an extremely enlarged uterus can risk putting pressure on the bladder or rectum, causing additional symptoms. 


Adenomyosis Causes

Scientists have not yet succeeded in identifying the cause of adenomyosis. However, there are several theories that may explain the condition. 

Some medical practitioners believe that adenomyosis may be associated with invasive tissue growth. This theory posits that endometrial cells from the uterine wall directly invade muscular tissue. This could be triggered by uterine incisions, such as a caesarean section. 

Likewise, it is believed that uterine inflammation secondary to pregnancy and childbirth could cause a break in the boundary of cells lining the uterus, leading to invasion of tissue.

Other theories speculate that adenomyosis may have a developmental origin, with endometrial tissue depositing within the uterine muscle of a female foetus prior to birth.  

More recently, some theorists have even proposed that the development of adenomyosis may be related to the invasion of bone marrow stem cells. 


Adenomyosis Risk Factors

While the verdict is still out on the exact cause of adenomyosis, there are some risk factors that may predispose you to developing the condition. 

Adenomyosis is most common in women between the ages of 35 and 50 and in those who have a history of endometriosis. You may be more likely to develop the condition if you have a shorter-than-usual menstrual cycle or if you began menstruating before the age of 10.

Research also shows that adenomyosis risk is increased by pregnancy and childbirth, especially in women who have been pregnant two or more times. The risk increases if an infection occurs after delivery. 

Uterine surgeries and manipulations can also increase your chances of developing adenomyosis. These may range from a caesarean section or fibroid removal to a D&C or endometrial ablation. 


Adenomyosis Treatment

If a doctor suspects that you are suffering from adenomyosis, they will begin a variety of tests to confirm a diagnosis. 

These may include a clinical evaluation of symptoms, alongside a pelvic exam and an ultrasound or MRI scan. If required, your practitioner may order a biopsy of your uterine lining to rule out other disorders. 

If you are diagnosed with adenomyosis, your doctor may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to ease menstrual cramping. They may also recommend estrogen-progestin hormone interventions, including birth control pills or an IUD. 

These treatments will help to reduce pain associated with adenomyosis. Hormonal medications can suppress hormone production associated with worsening adenomyosis symptoms. Some treatment options may even help the uterus shrink back to a normal size.

If your adenomyosis is severe and medications are unsuccessful in managing your pain and controlling bleeding, your provider may recommend a uterine artery embolisation or a hysterectomy. 


Adenomyosis Prognosis

Generally, available treatments are successful in helping patients manage adenomyosis well. 

It’s important to note that while adenomyosis can cause severe pain and impact quality of life, the condition does not predispose the patient to developing a more serious illness. 

In many cases, menopause can bring relief, with women often noticing that their symptoms reduce or disappear entirely following the complete cessation of menstrual periods. 


Seeking Support for Adenomyosis

If you are concerned about your symptoms and suspect that you have adenomyosis, it’s important to seek proper medical care. Contact your GP, orif you’re looking for more support on your uterine health journey, get in touch with Northern Beaches Interventional Radiology.

Book a consultation with Dr Quigley

Shaun Quigley

Shaun Quigley

Dr Shaun Quigley operates Northern Beaches Interventional Radiology, and specialises in minimally invasive treatment options for a range of conditions, including benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), fibroids, adenomyosis and varicocele.

Recent Posts