Adenomyosis is a condition caused by the tissue that normally lines the uterus (endometrial tissue) growing into the muscular wall of the uterus. The displaced tissue continues to act normally — thickening, breaking down and bleeding — during each menstrual cycle. This results in an enlarged uterus and painful, heavy periods.
The cause of adenomyosis remains unknown, but the disease usually resolves after menopause. For women who have severe discomfort from adenomyosis, hormonal treatments can help. Removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) cures adenomyosis.
The common symptoms associated with adenomyosis include:
- enlarged uterus
- painful periods
- heavy flow
- menstrual cramps
The risk factors for adenomyosis include – Prior uterine surgery, such as a C-section or fibroid removal. In most cases, the condition affects women immediately following childbirth and in their middle age.
Most cases of adenomyosis are found in women in their 40s and 50s. Adenomyosis in these women could relate to longer exposure to estrogen compared with that of younger women.
Adenomyosis automatically gets better after menopause, so treatment might depend on how close you are to menopause. Some of the common treatment options include – a prescription for anti-inflammatory drugs, hormone therapy and for a possible hysterectomy.
It is possible to combine estrogen-progestin birth control pills or hormone-containing patches or vaginal rings might lessen heavy bleeding and pain associated with adenomyosis. Progestin-only contraception, such as an intrauterine device, or continuous-use birth control pills often lead to amenorrhea — the absence of your menstrual periods — which might provide some relief.