Knowledge is power when it comes to our bodies – which is why we’re always keen to learn as much as possible about how they work and the different ways that our health and wellbeing can be affected. Today, we’re hearing all about adenomyosis, and how this often unheard of condition affects women.
What is adenomyosis?
Adenomyosis is a similar, but entirely different condition to endometriosis. Carol Pearson of the charity Endometriosis UK, explains: “It is a disease where endometrial tissue grows in the muscle layer of the wall of the womb, bleeding and causing pain.”
Is it common?
Carol says that prevalence is not 100% known, as diagnosis can be difficult. It is thought that around one in ten women may be affected by the condition but a third of these women may not present any symptoms and can be unaware they even have the condition, says the NHS. Adenomyosis can be found in women of all ages, including teenagers and is often found in women with endometriosis.
What are the symptoms of adenomyosis?
Heavy, painful periods, irregular or long periods, significant pelvic pain throughout your whole menstrual cycle, and pain during sex can all be indicators. These symptoms however can also be caused by other conditions, making it difficult to diagnose.
How is it diagnosed?
It often also exists alongside endometriosis, but the differentiation between the two conditions will be made by a specialist, following a tissue biopsy. Adenomyosis can also be diagnosed via pelvis ultrasound or MRI, but with these methods, the condition can easily be confused with fibroids.
How is it treated?
“A hysterectomy can cure adenomyosis, but will only be considered if all other treatments have failed and you don't want to have any more children,” explains the NHS. Carol says that symptoms of adenomyosis are usually managed by hormonal treatments and these can include the combined pill, progestogens and the Mirena coil.