What is Adenomyosis?
Adenomyosis is a fairly common gynecological condition that causes the lining of the uterus to grow into the uterine wall. Although the majority of women with this condition experience no symptoms at all, about one-third suffers from symptoms like heavy periods, pelvic pain, and bladder pressure. Although the exact causes aren’t known, various studies have suggested a link to hormones like Estrogen, Progesterone, Prolactin, Follicle-stimulating hormones, etc. Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that grow inside your uterus or on your uterine walls. Adenomyosis, while slightly less defined, is a mass of cells that grows within the walls of your uterus.
When the lining cells of the uterus bleed during the menstrual period, these misplaced cells in the muscle bleed as well. For patients with adenomyosis the pain is usually worse than the bleeding, while for patients with fibroids, it is typically the reverse (bleeding is worse than the pain).
In addition to severe menstrual cramps, patients also experience the following symptoms:
- Heavy or extended menstruation
- Irregular bleeding or spotting between periods
- Abdominal pressure and bloating
Deciding If You Need Adenomyosis Treatment
If your adenomyosis symptoms have become too severe to ignore, it is time to research your options. Until very recently, the only way to definitively diagnose adenomyosis was to examine the tissue of your uterus after it was removed by a hysterectomy. But thankfully, a fibroid clinic that uses state-of-the-art technology has the necessary imaging equipment that makes it possible to diagnose your condition during a regular office visit.
If your fibroid specialist suspects adenomyosis, you need to be examined by your physician. If your uterus appears to be enlarged or tender, the next step is an MRI or transvaginal ultrasound. This will help your fibroid doctor rule out the other possible conditions with the same symptoms, including fibroids.
It Takes an Expert
Because the symptoms of fibroids and adenomyosis are so similar, misdiagnosis is incredibly common. It takes the very skilled eye of a gynecologist specializing in the treatment of both fibroids and adenomyosis to distinguish the difference. The VIVA EVE team of fibroid and adenomyosis experts will be able properly diagnose your condition and suggest the best course of treatment.
The only way to ensure a cure for adenomyosis is to remove your uterus by hysterectomy, which is a major surgery with a long recovery time.
Less permanent and minimally invasive adenomyosis treatment options include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications may be recommended if your symptoms are mild. You typically begin taking anti-inflammatory medications one or two days before the start of your menstrual cycle and continue them for the first several days of your period.
- Hormone therapy can be used to help ease any symptoms associated with significantly heavy or painful periods. This therapy is similar to fibroid tumor treatment, as it relies on options such as:
- An IUD
- Aromatase inhibitors
- GnRH analogs
- Other forms of birth control
- Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a procedure that has been proven very effective in the treatment of adenomyosis.The technique used to treat adenomyosis is virtually the same as the one used to treat uterine fibroids. The procedure is performed while the patient is conscious or minimally sedated, but feeling no pain. It does not require general anesthesia. The interventional radiologist makes a tiny incision in the wrist or the groin area and inserts a catheter into the artery. Using real-time imaging, the physician guides the catheter through the artery and then releases tiny particles, the size of grains of sand, into the uterine arteries and blocking the blood supply to the affected tissue causing it to shrink and the symptoms to subside.
- Endometrial ablation is another method of adenomyosis treatment. Its aim is to destroy the lining of your uterus. Ablation has proven an effective adenomyosis treatment method if your condition hasn’t penetrated too deeply into the actual muscle wall of your uterus.
At VIVA EVE we are committed to providing high-quality, personalized care for each and every patient we see. We will partner with you to determine the best way to treat your problematic fibroids or adenomyosis.