Adenomyosis - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Adenomyosis is an often painful disorder of the female reproductive system in which the tissue resembling the one that lines inside of the uterus grows into the muscular wall of the uterus called the myometrium, leading to its enlargement. The inner lining of the uterus is known as the endometrium. When it displaces the other tissues, the condition can result in painful and heavy periods. Under normal conditions, the endometrium thickens breaks down and bleeds every month. The displaced tissue that grows inside the uterus also behaves like an endometrium. It also tries to thicken, break and bleed, resulting in heavy bleeding and enlargement of the uterus. The common signs and symptoms of adenomyosis are painful sex, infertility, heavy menstrual bleeding, and menstrual cramps. Mostly the condition resolves after menopause. However hormonal therapies and hysterectomy can also help get rid of it. 


Symptoms 


Usually, adenomyosis does not cause symptoms. But it may show the following signs and symptoms. 


  • Heavy menstrual bleeding 

  • Prolonged menstrual bleeding

  • Severe cramping or sharp, knifelike pelvic pain during menstruation-dysmenorrhea. Under normal conditions, most women have pelvic pain during the menstrual cycle. But females with adenomyosis describe it much more than usual pain associated with menstrual periods.

  • Chronic pelvic pain

  • Infertility 

  • Painful intercourse-dyspareunia

  • Uterus enlargement. It may be possible that you do not know about the uterus enlargement. But you will be able to feel the tenderness and pressure in your lower abdomen. 


Causes 


The exact cause of adenomyosis is unknown but it is more common in females who have given birth to children. No matter due to which reason it grows, its growth depends on the levels of circulating estrogen in the body. Other causes may be;


Cells invasion and growth


According to experts, the cells lining the uterus may invade the myometrium- the muscular wall of the uterus. During the cesarean section, incisions are made into the uterus that can also lead to direct invasion of the endometrial cells into the myometrium- the muscular wall of the uterus eventually causing adenomyosis.


Developmental defect


Some experts believe that the endometrial tissue deposits in the uterine muscle during development in the fetal stage. 


Postpartum inflammation


Inflammation of the endometrium that occurs after childbirth can cause breakage in the cells that line the uterus, which eventually may lead to adenomyosis.


Stem cell origin 


According to some latest research, adenomyosis can occur when bone marrow stem cells invade the uterine muscles. 


Risk Factors 


The risk factors for adenomyosis can be;


Going through under any surgical procedure like C-section, fibroid removal, or dilatation and curettage (D&C)


Other risk factors for adenomyosis can be;


  • Childbirth 

  • Middle age 

  • Long term exposure to estrogen due to early onset of periods and late menopause


Treatment 


The symptoms of adenomyosis get better after the woman reaches menopause. However, if they do not resolve or cause bothersome symptoms before it, the patient can be prescribed;


  • Pain medications like ibuprofen and naproxen

  • Hormonal therapy 

  • Hysterectomy- complete removal of the uterus. After it, you would not be able to get pregnant. 


Conclusion 


Adenomyosis is an often painful disorder of the female reproductive system in which the tissue resembling the one that lines inside of the uterus grows into the muscular wall of the uterus called the myometrium, leading to its enlargement. The inner lining of the uterus is known as the endometrium. When it displaces the other tissues, the condition can result in painful and heavy periods. Under normal conditions, the endometrium thickens breaks down and bleeds every month. The displaced tissue that grows inside the uterus also behaves like an endometrium. It also tries to thicken, break and bleed, resulting in heavy bleeding and enlargement of the uterus. The common signs and symptoms of adenomyosis are painful sex, infertility, heavy menstrual bleeding, and menstrual cramps. Mostly the condition resolves after menopause. However hormonal therapies and hysterectomy can also help get rid of it.


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