Adenomyosis is a condition where the endometrium (lining of the womb) is found deep in the myometrium (muscle of the uterus).
We do not know exactly why adenomyosis happens but it is likely that women with adenomyosis have a predisposition due to their genes, immune system and hormones.
Adenomyosis is not an infection and it is not contagious. It is benign (not cancerous).
How common is adenomyosis?
Adenomyosis affects as many as one in ten women of reproductive age. It is more common in women aged 40-50 years and who have had children.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms are:
• Heavy, painful or irregular periods
• Pre-menstrual pelvic pain and feelings of heaviness/discomfort in the pelvis
Less common symptoms are:
• Pain during sexual intercourse
• Pain related to bowel movements
About one third of women experience few or no symptoms; other women suffer with many effects. It can also affect other aspects of a woman’s life including her general physical health and emotional wellbeing. Symptoms generally stop after the menopause.
Adenomyosis does not appear to decrease the chance of pregnancy however it is linked to an increased risk of miscarriage and premature birth.
How is adenomyosis diagnosed?
Adenomyosis can take a long time, even years, to diagnose because the symptoms and severity can vary between women.
Your doctor may organise and perform a transvaginal ultrasound scan and/or an MRI to investigate your symptoms.
How is adenomyosis treated?
The right treatment depends on symptoms but also other factors including age, desire for children and preserving fertility, views on surgery and what treatments have been tried already.
• Doing nothing if symptoms are mild, you are trying for a pregnancy or nearing menopause
• Non hormonal treatments such as tranexamic acid or mefanamic acid to reduce pain and bleeding with your period
• Hormones such as the oral conceptive pill, Depo-Provera ™ injection, Nexplanon™ implant and Mirena™ coil or types that cause a temporary and false menopause state (Zoladex™)
• Hysterectomy (removal of the womb), for women not wishing to preserve fertility
• Uterine artery embolisation, a procedure whereby tiny particles are injected into blood vessels via a catheter in the groin aiming to block off the blood supply to the adenomyosis and cause it to shrink