Adenomyosis happens when there is abnormal presence of endometrial tissue (the inner lining of the uterus) within the thick, muscular layer of the uterus called myometrium.
In contrast, when endometrial tissue is present entirely outside the uterus, it represents a similar but distinct medical condition called endometriosis. The two conditions are found together in many cases, but often occur independently.
Adenomyosis is typically found in women between the ages of 35 and 50 but can also be present in younger women. However, the common symptoms of adenomyosis can also be very similar to the symptoms of uterine fibroids. To be exact, women with adenomyosis often suffer from heavy menstrual flows and pelvic pain. As a result, Dr. Lipman often sees patients with adenomyosis that are misdiagnosed.
Video: Adenomyosis Overview, Symptoms, and Treatment Options
The Symptoms: Adenomyosis vs. Uterine Fibroids
Although adenomyosis symptoms can be very similar to the symptoms of uterine fibroids, in general, women with uterine fibroids suffer from heavy bleedings more often than from pelvic pain, which is usually more common in patients with adenomyosis.
Other symptoms of adenomyosis can include abnormal uterine bleeding, pain during sex (vaginal intercourse), pressure on bladder, and more.
Clinical signs of adenomyosis may include uterine enlargement, tender uterus, and even infertility.
As mentioned before, adenomyosis is frequently misdiagnosed because its symptoms may be similar to the symptoms of other conditions like uterine fibroids or endometriosis. To make it more difficult to diagnose, women with adenomyosis are also more likely to have fibroids, endometriosis or endometrial polyp. So if you think you may be suffering from adenomyosis, consult an expert like Dr. Lipman.
Adenomyosis Treatment Options You Should Know About
If you have been diagnosed with adenomyosis, you have several treatment options to consider, and the choice will largely depend on severity of your symptoms. To address pelvic pain, your doctor may suggest anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen or Motrin. In some cases, IUD (an intrauterine device) may be an option.
But none of the above approaches addresses the causes of adenomyosis; they only mask the symptoms. In order to cure adenomyosis, patients are often offered a hysterectomy (a surgical option) or a non-surgical alternative known as uterine artery embolization (UAE). This procedure is based on the same methodology and techniques as uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) for treating uterine fibroids, and is also performed by an experienced interventional radiologist.
To learn more about adenomyosis and available treatment options, call Atlanta Fibroid Center at 770-953-2600 or make an appointment online.