Adenomyosis can be disabling
In about one in five women the endometrium becomes fused with the muscle tissue. This disrupts the function of the muscle tissue, leading to bleeding and abdominal pain.
Growth outside the uterus
Another problem that many women face is endometriosis. Mucous membrane cells are also present in the wrong tissue. But unlike adenomyosis, which occurs in the muscle layer of the uterus, endometriosis usually develops outside the uterus.
However, both adenomyosis and endometriosis can affect a woman’s chances of getting pregnant and should be taken seriously. Thanks to research, public interest and social media, awareness of endometriosis has increased significantly in recent years.
Difficult to diagnose
However, adenomyosis receives much less attention and is still relatively unknown. A complicating factor is that the condition is difficult to diagnose. Previously, the presence of endometrial cells in the myometrium could only be determined by taking tissue samples after the uterus was surgically removed (hysterectomy).
Nowadays it is easier to create a visual image that makes a diagnosis possible with the help of MRI scans and ultrasounds of the uterus.
Adenomyoses can spread throughout the myometrium or collect in a swelling (adenomyoma). It is not yet known whether this affects the symptoms. It is also unclear why some women develop adenomyomas and others do not, but there are indications that the risk of the condition increases with age.
It is also believed that the area between the endometrium and muscle tissue can be damaged by natural processes around the menstrual cycle, pregnancy or childbirth. In addition, other factors may be involved, such as medical interventions.
Hormone therapy is possible
Possible treatments are hormone therapy, progesterone pills or the insertion of an IUD. There is also a drug that stops the body’s natural production of sex hormones.
Non-hormonal treatments include therapies that reduce menstrual bleeding, and abdominal pain can be treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, the treatments do not work equally well in all women, suggesting that there is more than one type of adenomyosis.
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