Adenomyosis In The Picture
Adenomyosis, sometimes called endometriosis interna, is a disorder of the endometrial tissue. With this condition, endometrial cells that normally line the inside of the uterus also grow inside the myometrium, the muscular wall of the uterus.
Just like in endometriosis, these cell patches follow the menstrual cycle; they bleed when you’re on your period. This causes little pockets of blood within the muscle of the uterus wall. Women with adenomyosis therefore have a thicker and enlarged uterus. In some cases, the patches are spread out. In others they’re concentrated in one area and form a fibroid-like mass called an adenomyoma.
Difference between adenomyosis and endometriosis
Adenomyosis has a lot in common with endometriosis. The big difference between these two conditions lies in the location and the type of tissue. With endometriosis, tissue that looks like that which lines the inside of the womb, grows outside the uterus, for example on the ovaries or fallopian tubes. With adenomyosis, it’s actual endometrial tissue instead of a lookalike. Also, the tissue grows inside the muscular walls of the uterus, not outside the womb.
Pain and heavy bleeding
Not every woman with adenomyosis also experiences symptoms; about one third have no complaints at all. The others often suffer from pelvic pain and heavy bleeding. It’s estimated that one on every ten women has adenomyosis. It most commonly affects women in their forties and fifties who’ve already had children. The exact cause is unknown, but the disease is linked with increased estrogen levels. That’s why the complaints disappear after the menopause.
Adenomyosis treatment options
The disease, which often occurs together with endometriosis, can be discovered by an ultrasound or MRI-screening. However, it can only truly be diagnosed after a hysterectomy and microscopic analysis of the tissue. Possible treatment options are anti-inflammatory drugs, hormone therapy and/or surgical removal of the patches.