Thousands of women around the world suffer from adenomyosis. And many of them, in addition to the unpleasant physical symptoms that interfere with their lives, experience emotional distress. Constant fatigue, apathy, irritability, excessive crying, and sometimes even depression … are these also consequences of adenomyosis?
Fighting adenomyosis and maintaining positivity is understandably very difficult. In order to cope with anxiety and depression caused by adenomyosis, a woman needs to treat the very root of the problem first: adenomyosis.
Adenomyosis and Depression: Struggling Day to Day
Can adenomyosis cause depression? There are no studies that confirm a direct correlation between the two. However, women with adenomyosis often suffer from anxiety. What is the reason? To understand it, we need to remember the nature of adenomyosis.
Adenomyosis occurs when the tissue that normally lines the uterus (endometrial tissue) grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. The exact causes of adenomyosis are unknown. However, some contributing factors have been studied, and one of them is a hormonal imbalance in patients that may be triggering the condition.
Any hormonal imbalance, in general, can lead to fatigue, irritability, apathy, and other symptoms showing that your body needs help. In the case of adenomyosis, a woman is forced to live with the direct symptoms of adenomyosis as well. While symptoms vary based on the stage of the disease, age of the patient, and other factors, the most common symptoms are heavy and painful menstruation that lowers women’s quality of life. Of these two symptoms, often it is the pelvic pain that is worse than the bleeding while in women who suffer from fibroids it is typically the opposite.
Many women experience severe pain of varying intensity and localization in the pre- and post-menstrual periods. Many patients complain of pain during sexual intercourse. This is also more commonly seen in adenomyosis than in fibroid patients. Like fibroid sufferers, women suffering from adenomyosis will often deal with anemia due to significant blood loss from heavy and longer than normal periods. They experience dizziness, drowsiness, decreased energy, and other often serious consequences of anemia (exs. lightheaded, headaches, chew/crave ice).
It’s also important to mention infertility that can affect women with adenomyosis. Infertility alone can become a source of anxiety and depression.
It is not surprising that a woman who has been going through the nightmare of adenomyosis may lose not only her zest for life, but also need professional help to cope with emotional distress caused by the condition. Dealing with adenomyosis symptoms day to day with limited treatment options is not easy. And no one should hesitate to reach out for help.
How to Recognize and Prevent Depression When Suffering from Adenomyosis
Symptoms of depression caused by adenomyosis are common depression symptoms: loss of motivation, emotional ups and downs, decreased libido, irritability, anxiety, sleep/appetite disorders, fatigue, decreased energy, difficulty concentrating, and sometimes indigestion or headaches. A woman with adenomyosis may experience all of these symptoms or just a few.
It’s important to remember that all of us experience stress from time to time regardless of how healthy we are. This is why it’s so important to know your body and emotional “norm”; if you have been experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression for prolonged periods of time, you should consult a doctor and find solutions that work for you.
How to Say “Goodbye” to Depression
Every woman deserves to be happy, and happiness starts with self-love. Adenomyosis is a challenge, and if you are suffering from this condition, taking care of yourself is a must. While it’s necessary to consult a specialist when help is needed, there are a few simple things you can do to help yourself maintain a healthy emotional balance throughout the day.
• Physical activity. Get moving! There is nothing better for boosting serotonin than physical activity. Serotonin literally makes people feel happier. Just remember that with adenomyosis heavy physical activity like weight lifting may not be the best option. But walking, cycling, light morning exercises or yoga could do wonders.
• Pay attention to sleep patterns. It’s recommended to sleep at least 8 hours a day and fall asleep no later than 10 pm, if possible. Falling asleep between 10 pm and midnight is beneficial for better quality of sleep.
• A balanced diet of foods necessary for healthy mind and body is important. Eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible. Try to include hard cheeses, nuts, seeds, seaweed, cocoa, and turmeric into your diet. Reduce intake of coffee, alcohol, and energy drinks, if possible. It is also recommended to reduce the consumption of processed sugar.
Did you know that low estrogen diet can also help reduce adenomyosis symptoms?
• Do what you like. Hobbies and relaxation are good for emotional health. Watch movies or read favorite books. Knitting, drawing, photography, writing, DIY activities, baking, sewing, singing or any other hobby can help. Express your emotions through creativity!
• Spend more time with friends and family. No talking about adenomyosis though! Go for a walk or go out for a dinner to focus on pleasant experiences and conversations.
• Take warm (not hot!) baths with sea salt or essential oils. Aromatherapy can be great for relaxation and emotional balance.
• Get a massage. A foot massage or a full body massage can be very beneficial for physical and mental health.
While these (and many other) things may help you take better care of your emotional well-being, anxiety or depression that occurs as a result of living with adenomyosis should be addressed by first of all treating adenomyosis and not just masking its symptoms. While many OB/GYNs will suggest hysterectomy to treat adenomyosis, today there is a very effective nonsurgical treatment method known as Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE). This outpatient procedure is performed by an experienced Interventional Radiologist like Dr. John Lipman. It allows women to avoid the risks of surgery, preserve their fertility, and most importantly, keep their uterus.