WHAT IS ADENOMYOSIS?
Adenomyosis is a thickening of the uterus. The condition occurs when endometrial tissue moves into the uterus’ outer muscular walls. Normally, endometrial tissue lines the uterus. Adenomyosis may result in an adenomyoma, which is a mass or growth inside the uterus.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
In many cases, there are no symptoms for the condition. Symptoms that may occur include:
Painful menstruation that may involve new cramping that becomes increasingly worse.
Heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding.
A uterus that is 2-3 times its normal size.
WHAT CAUSES IT?
The cause of this condition is not known. It is more common in women who have had multiple children (as opposed to those who have never had a child). It is not clear if adenomyosis is a separate medical condition, or represents a normal variant found in some women.
HOW IS ADENOMYOSIS DIAGNOSED?
The condition is unlikely to be diagnosed during a pelvic exam. However, there may be a uterine mass, tenderness in the uterus, or an enlarged and slightly softened uterus. Doctors may order an ultrasound to distinguish masses caused by adenomyosis from other tumors in the uterus. However, the condition is more frequently diagnosed with the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or at the time of hysterectomy.
HOW IS ADENOMYOSIS TREATED?
Doctors may prescribe pain medication for the condition. In some cases, a hysterectomy is performed if the pain is severe. Hormonal treatments may be helpful in reducing pain and bleeding and are often tried first before resorting to surgery.