Gynecological conditions can be difficult to decipher because many share the same or very similar symptoms. From seemingly endless menstrual periods to passing big blood clots, dealing with very heavy flow, pelvic pain, or looking several months pregnant even though there is no baby, and the list goes on.
Today, we are going to provide some information on adenomyosis. This rarely discussed condition can produce nasty symptoms, including heavy bleeding, or a condition known as adenomyosis belly. It is our hope that our readers may become more knowledgeable about recognizing this issue so they can seek the right intervention and do it sooner to put an end to their discomfort.
Similar Symptoms – Different Conditions
Conditions like uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and adenomyosis have many symptoms in common, and they are often misdiagnosed. Sometimes, a woman can have more than one of these conditions at the same time. Let’s look at a quick overview of these conditions so we can begin to understand why the symptoms are so similar.
First, let’s talk about the biggest thing they have in common, which is that they all originate from some type of rouge cells.
- Endometriosis And Adenomyosis
- Each month, the uterus lining, or endometrium, becomes thicker, and if not needed by an implanting embryo, it eventually peels away from the inside of the uterus and is discarded during the menstrual cycle. Nobody really knows why, but sometimes these same endometrial cells go off the grid and begin forming in areas that they shouldn’t.When they form outside of the uterus, they create a condition called endometriosis, and when they form within the muscular wall of the uterus, the condition is called adenomyosis. These cells build up and then shed (bleed) and function just like they would if they were in the right place. This is a major contributor to the symptoms of heavy bleeding.
- Uterine Fibroids
- These are growths that are also caused by rogue cells, but they are akin to those that make up the muscular wall of the uterus. They can grow in different places in and on the uterus and cause different symptoms depending on their location including heavy bleeding, pressure in the pelvis, painful sex, frequent urination, anemia, and more.
Bloated Abdomen From Fibroids And Adenomyosis Belly
Women who have fibroids and or those suffering from adenomyosis can sometimes appear several months pregnant even though they are not actually expecting a baby. In the case of uterine myomas, when numerous or if they grow large, they can distort the shape of the uterus and cause it to protrude out, similar to a baby bump. In fact, one reality star told her story about the media starting rumors of her being pregnant after she was seen and photographed with a protruding abdomen at an event. In truth, she had a belly full of fibroids.
Adenomyosis belly is not a defined medical term but is used to describe a woman whose uterus has become enlarged due to the buildup of inappropriately located endometrial cells inside the uterine wall.
By browsing social media, you can find stories written by women who suffered from adenomyosis and were seeking treatment to relieve their symptoms and get rid of an adenomyosis belly. Many were misdiagnosed for many years, and unfortunately, some of them succumbed to hysterectomies because they felt they had no options. Others were fortunate enough to have come across information regarding uterine artery embolization, which is a treatment that does not require surgery and spares the uterus.
A Typical Adenomyosis Story
A woman seeking help with undiagnosed adenomyosis told her story and said that before having children, her periods had been normal and relatively mild. Then she started experiencing heavy bleeding, large blood clots, constipation, and significant pain, which she was told by her doctor were normal after childbirth and that it may ease up or maybe something she just has to live with.
After a few years, she went to a different doctor seeking answers who did an ultrasound, but according to that doctor “nothing showed up.” She dealt with the pain and symptoms for two more years before finding another doctor who performed a CT scan to investigate the possibility of diverticular disease or bowel issues. Remember she was also having heavy periods, and pain, along with constipation. The results did not indicate diverticulitis.
After two more years, she finally found a doctor who correctly diagnosed her with adenomyosis. They not only listened to her, but they put all the pieces together, and thankfully, this doctor knew the symptoms of adenomyosis and what to look for on an ultrasound. Fortunately for this woman, the doctor she chose was also knowledgeable about the treatment options available for adenomyosis and told her about non-surgical uterine artery embolization (UAE). She underwent the UAE procedure right away and saw an immediate change in her symptoms, and by the third month after her procedure, she felt like her old self again.
The doctors who were trusted by this patient either did not do their best to help her or they did not possess the proper skill set to treat her. It takes a skilled professional who knows what they are looking for on an ultrasound to spot adenomyosis and a doctor who carefully listens to the patient and considers all the symptoms together to make an accurate diagnosis. This poor woman suffered for many years before she got the help she needed, and frankly, this is unacceptable.
It Is Time For Women To Be Informed And Take Charge Of Their Health
Many women experience debilitating symptoms during their menstrual cycle, but the problem is that they do not understand that this is not normal, so many do not even mention it to their doctor. If they finally do seek medical attention for the issues they are having, they are often dismissed and told things like, “Periods can be irregular and weird.” Today, they have to be their own advocates, do their own research, and then, armed with what they have learned, seek out a new doctor who will listen to them.
One woman recounted the time when she spoke to her doctor about her enlarging belly despite all the calorie counting and exercising she had been doing. Instead of considering it may be a case of adenomyosis belly, the doctor jokingly said something about the kind of calories she must have been counting and dismissed her.
Today, we can instantly send money to another person; we can post something on social media, and someone halfway across the world has instant access to that information. Why is it that UAE has been around for over 25 years, but most women are never told about this option when they receive a fibroid or adenomyosis diagnosis? This needs to change so no more women suffer needlessly with chronic pain and adenomyosis belly.
FAQs About Adenomyosis
Does Adenomyosis Cause A Big Belly?
Yes, this condition can cause the uterus to enlarge enough to create a visible bulge that resembles a baby bump. Not all women who have adenomyosis will have a big belly, but many women who have adenomyosis also have fibroids or endometriosis at the same time.
How Can You Get Rid Of Adenomyosis Belly?
The best way to reduce an adenomyosis belly is to stop the rouge cells from further growth and to shrink the growth that is already present. The UAE procedure cuts off the blood flow that is keeping these rouge cells alive, and they shrink and eventually die.
The procedure can be done in about an hour and is approximately 80% effective in eliminating the symptoms of adenomyosis. There is very little risk involved and only about a week is needed for recovery. UAE works better than temporary medications, invasive surgery, or burning the lining of the uterus, which does irreparable damage. It provides a long-term solution to eliminate adenomyosis belly and other nasty symptoms without compromising the uterus.
Where Can I Find Out More About The UAE Procedure?
Get in touch with the Atlanta Fibroid Center and consult with one of the world’s leading experts in performing the UAE procedure. UAE is done by a specially skilled interventional radiologist who has extensive training in uterine artery embolization.
If you have been experiencing chronic symptoms like those described in this article and have not been able to find help, it may be a good time to seek a second opinion. If your symptoms are related to uterine myomas or adenomyosis, a short UAE procedure may be able to give you your life back. Do not be discouraged if your OB/gyn tells you that you need a hysterectomy and fails to offer you UAE as an option. Since this is not a surgical procedure, your OB/gyn is unable to perform it and may know little about the procedure.
Consult with the Atlanta Fibroid Center first and let us review your case before you undergo drastic surgery that may have negative life-long consequences.