A is for Adenomyosis
[Greek. adēn, gland, + mys, muscle, + –osis condition]
Adenomyosis was originally documented as ‘adenomyoma’ during 1860 by German pathologist Carl von Rokitansky . The first systematic description of what we now know as adenomyosis was established in 1927 by Thomas Stephen Cullen and later amended in 1972 by C.C. Bird to provide our current definition of the condition.
Adenomyosis is a benign condition which results in the invasive growth of endometrial glandular tissue which appears within the tissues of the muscle of the uterus. Old tissue and blood which would normally be released during your period cannot escape from the muscle and flow out of the cervix as it should. This causes the tissue to swell and can lead to extremely painful menstrual cramps.
There are no known causes for adenomyosis but it has been linked to trauma caused to the reproductive system as a result of other conditions, treatments or surgeries.
- Extremely painful menstrual cramps
- Intense pressure on the abdomen, bladder or bowel
- Heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding (upto/over 14 days)
- Large blood clots
- Extreme fatigue
- Sudden stabbing pains across the abdomen
Although there is no cure for adenomyosis, there are several surgical and non-surgical treatments which can be explored to help relieve symptoms. These treatments will differ depending on the severity of your individual condition and whether or not you have had children.
- Hormonal and blood clotting treatment
- Uterine Artery Embolisation
This is a minimally invasive procedure whereby tiny particles are used to block the blood vessels that provide blood flow to the adenomyosis. The particles are guided through a tiny tube inserted into the vagina through the cervix. Once the blood supply is cut off the adenomyosis begins to shrink.
Click here to explore this treatment in more detail
- Endometrial Ablation
This treatment is also used to treat other reproductive health problems such as fibroids. Endometrial ablation destroys the lining of the uterus by burning it away. It has been found to be highly effective in relieving symptoms for women whose adenomyosis has not yet penetrated deeply into the muscle wall of the uterus.
Watch this video for more information,
- Magnetic Resonance–guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS)
The most current treatment being trialled worldwide involves ultrasound waves which are targeted towards adenomyoma ensuring your uterus will remain complete and heal. MRgFUS also ensures that there is no long term damage to the uterus increasing your chances of successfully achieving a pregnancy.
Click here to watch a more in depth video describing how this treatment works.
Usually offered as a last resort if you have finished child bearing or have been through the menopause hysterectomy has been reported to reduce pelvic pain by 75-80%.
Don’t fancy reading? Have a look at this video for a visual breakdown of adenomyosis its causes, symptoms and treatments.