Fort Collins Adenomyosis Specialists: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments
Many of you have probably heard of endometriosis, whether you battle it first hand or know of someone who has been diagnosed. But did you know that there is another, lesser-known form of endometriosis? Adenomyosis is a form of endometriosis in which the endometrium (the tissue that lines the uterus) grows in the muscle wall of the uterus. This can cause pain, pressure, bloating, and other symptoms that make daily activities difficult. That’s why I wanted to talk about the symptoms and causes, and how our Fort Collins adenomyosis specialists can help you find the right treatment.
Watch the video below for a little bit more information on adenomyosis, then keep reading to learn about causes, treatment, and more.
Symptoms of Adenomyosis
The symptoms of adenomyosis are very similar to the symptoms of endometriosis. Symptoms include:
- Painful periods
- Heavy or abnormal bleeding during your period
- Bleeding between periods
- Pain with sex, also known as dyspareunia
- If, during vaginal exams, your uterus feels enlarged and is tender to the touch
The heavy, excessive periods associated with adenomyosis can also lead to symptoms of anemia, such as dizziness or tiredness.
Causes of Adenomyosis
Much like endometriosis, there is no known cause of adenomyosis. However, there are a few theories that might explain how adenomyosis happens. These include:
- The cells of the uterine lining move into the muscle wall after surgery
- Uterine lining tissue was deposited into the uterine wall even before birth
- After childbirth, the uterine lining becomes inflamed, which allows cells to move into the weakened muscles
While these are only theories, we do know that adenomyosis needs estrogen to grow, so it typically goes away after menopause because of the lack of estrogen.
What Is the Difference Between Adenomyosis and Endometriosis?
Adenomyosis and endometriosis are both conditions in which the endometrium (the tissue that lines the uterus) grows abnormally. However, they are not the same. They develop differently and do not share all the same symptoms.
Endometriosis occurs when the endometrium grows outside of the uterus such as on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or bladder. Adenomyosis happens when the endometrium grows outside the uterus, but inside the uterine muscle wall.
While painful periods are a symptom of both conditions, adenomyosis often brings chronic pain in the pelvis and low back, prolonged periods, and an enlarged uterus. These symptoms are not usually associated with endometriosis.
Can You Have Adenomyosis and Endometriosis?
While some women might have one without the other, it is possible to have both adenomyosis and endometriosis. Because there are different conditions, they can develop independently of one another. For example, a woman might have endometriosis on her ovaries or fallopian tubes, as well as adenomyosis in her uterine muscle wall.
Is Adenomyosis Dangerous?
Adenomyosis isn’t dangerous, but it is certainly a nuisance that can affect your daily life. It can cause chronic pain and fatigue that might prevent you from performing everyday activities. It may also cause pain with sex, which can affect relationships with your partner. Adenomyosis may even make you feel dizzy, as a symptom of anemia from heavy bleeding.
Can You Get Cancer from Adenomyosis?
While it has been shown that endometrial cancer can come from adenomyosis, there is not enough evidence to definitively say that adenomyosis will lead to cancer. One study showed that 3 out of 24 patients with both adenomyosis and endometrial cancer experienced a malignant transformation. As this number is so small, the researchers could not confirm that adenomyosis is a precursor to endometrial cancer, only that it may be. Continued studies are necessary to find a correlation between the two.
How Is Adenomyosis Diagnosed?
Adenomyosis, unfortunately, can be difficult to diagnose. Typically, our Fort Collins adenomyosis specialists will perform a transvaginal ultrasound. This is done by placing an ultrasound probe into the vagina. We may also use an MRI so that we can see the soft tissue that doesn’t show up on X-rays. However, the only way to definitively diagnose adenomyosis is to conduct pathology tests after a hysterectomy is performed.
How Is Adenomyosis Treated?
Depending on your life stage, there are different options for treatment, some of which require surgery. Treatment options include:
- Hysterectomy: the complete removal of the uterus
- A progesterone releasing IUD: an IUD can help thin the endometrium, reduce the size of the uterus, and reduce pain, pain with sex, and heavy bleeding
- Hormones: hormone treatments can suppress periods, thin the endometrium, reduce the size of the uterus, or cause a temporary chemical menopause
Of course, the treatment that our Fort Collins adenomyosis specialists will recommend depends on a number of things, such as your age, whether you want to have children, etc.
Fort Collins Adenomyosis Specialists
I know that all of this information might sound frightening, but don’t worry! Our team of doctors at A Woman’s Healing Center is very skilled in treating and diagnosing conditions like endometriosis and adenomyosis. I myself have been in practice for more than 25 years, and am the leading OB-GYN surgeon in northern Colorado for pain relief from both adenomyosis and endometriosis.
If you feel that you are experiencing symptoms of adenomyosis, or you simply have questions about the condition, please contact us or fill out the form below to request an appointment. We are here to help you, from diagnosis to treatment and beyond.