What is adenomyosis and what are the symptoms?
Adenomyosis is a common benign (non-cancerous) condition of the uterus caused by growth and extension of the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium) deep into the muscular middle layer of the uterus (the myometrium). It is sometimes referred to as “endometriosis of the uterus.” Characterized by menstrual pain, heavy menstrual flow and uterine enlargement, adenomyosis and fibroids present with similar symptoms and signs. This overlapping of symptoms often leads to difficulty in differentiating one condition from the other without the use of special testing such as ultrasound and MRI.
Symptoms of adenomyosis sometimes begin following cesarean section, tubal ligation, pregnancy termination and pregnancy. Adenomyosis affects about one in every 10 women, usually between the ages of 35 and 50. Adenomyosis does not become cancerous. As with endometriosis, the cause is unknown.
How is adenomyosis treated?
There are many options for treatment, including oral contraceptives, hormonal releasing IUDs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Motrin), progesterone pills and hormonal suppression. For more severe cases, surgical resection (called adenomyomectomy), endometrial ablation or hysterectomy are sometimes required to attain control of symptoms.