Both adenomyosis and endometriosis are characterized by the inappropriate growth of the uterine lining. With endometriosis, this tissue develops outside the uterus, affecting nearby organs such as the ovaries and bladder. Adenomyosis affects the internal muscles of the uterus, known as the myometrium, so it’s sometimes called internal endometriosis. Many women experience both these uncomfortable and sometimes debilitating conditions. The team at Peoria Women’s Health can recommend treatment to alleviate the symptoms of adenomyosis.
What Causes Adenomyosis?
Doctors don’t know exactly why adenomyosis occurs, but most scientists agree that the levels of follicle-stimulating hormone, prolactin, progesterone and estrogen play a role in its development. This condition is more common among middle-aged women and those who have had children or previous abdominal surgery. Although exact numbers are unknown, researchers estimate that anywhere from 20% to 65% of women may experience symptoms associated with adenomyosis.
What Are the Symptoms of This Condition?
Like endometriosis, adenomyosis is associated with heavy, painful menstrual bleeding. Women with this condition also experience abdominal cramping, bloating and pressure that may fluctuate with the menstrual cycle. Chronic pelvic pain, pain during sex and blood clots during menstruation are also common with adenomyosis.
Our health care team starts with a physical exam when the doctor suspects adenomyosis. If the uterus appears to be enlarged and/or tender, an ultrasound can check for the growth of tissue within the organ’s muscular walls. In some women, the uterus can expand up to three times its normal size as the walls swell and thicken with tissue growth. MRI technology can differentiate adenomyosis from benign fibroids, which manifest with similar symptoms. Sometimes, adenomyosis resolves independently when the woman undergoes menopause.
How Is Adenomyosis Treated?
Your doctor may recommend anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen to treat the pain associated with this condition. Hormonal treatments, most commonly birth control pills, can regulate hormone levels to decrease the impact of unwanted tissue growth.
A minimally invasive procedure called endometrial ablation is often used to remove tissue growth from the uterine walls. Another minimally invasive procedure, uterine artery embolization, relieves symptoms by cutting off the blood supply to the endometrium.
In severe cases, hysterectomy may be required to alleviate painful monthly symptoms. Left untreated, adenomyosis can increase the risk for anemia, as well as cause anxiety and depression when normal daily activities are disrupted by chronic pain.
Learn More at Peoria Women’s Health
To learn more about adenomyosis and endometriosis, and seek help for painful periods, contact the team at Peoria Women’s Health to schedule your appointment. We specialize in caring for women’s gynecological and reproductive health to improve quality of life.
Tamara Olt, M.D. & Amy Pheiffer, WHNP
5401 N. Knoxville, Suite 109
Peoria, IL 61614
Phone: (309) 692-2805
Lindsey Ma, M.D. & Jamie King, WHNP
5401 N. Knoxville, Suite 114
Peoria, IL 61614
Phone: (309) 683-0200
Exchange: (866) 899-6594 (for off hour emergent calls)