What is Adenomyosis?
Pronounced : ~ A - den - o - my - o- sis, broken down it literally means adeno- (gland) myo- (muscle), and -osis (condition). First discovered in the 1800's, it was previously named 'endometriosis interna'. It is now recognised that adenomyosis actually differs from endometriosis and information published widely suggests these two disease
entities are found together in only 10% of cases.
Adenomyosis is defined as the presence of endometrial glands
that appear within the tissues in the muscle of the uterus.
The old tissue and blood cannot get out of the muscle and flow out of the cervix as normally occurs. The blood and tissue saturate the site swelling and causing intense pain in the form of menstrual cramps. The strength and intensity of these changes as the condition develops. At worst, it can feel like sudden labour pains, or the feeling of a weight pressing down on the bladder and bowel. Monthly uterine bleeding is often heavy as some of the blood finally escapes the muscle and results in prolonged spotting to the point in the worst cases of anemia and low iron store levels. It is often misdiagnosed as fibroids but can appear with other conditions such as ovarian cysts, prolapse and even gynecological cancers that can cause pelvic pain.
Who Gets Adenomyosis?
Any woman, any age, however it is most often diagnosed in middle-aged women and women who have had children.
What Causes Adenomyosis?
Good question! Truth is, experts are still unsure. Scientists agree there is a link between the condition and the various hormones including estrogen, progesterone, prolactin, and follicle stimulating hormone and studies suggest imbalances of any of these may trigger the condition. Studies also claim risk factors include childbirth, tubal ligations, Caesarean sections, and termination of pregnancy.
In my research to date, I have established there appears to be a strong link with over production of estrogen. This is an area which I am eager to investigate further and am currently working on personally omitting certain types of plastics from of all places - the fridge, since scientists are concerned that even at low levels, these can leach estrogen mimicking chemicals into beverage bottles and food containers. The consensus is that they may work together with the body’s own estrogen to increase the risk of breast cancer and other estrogen dependant conditions, of which adenomyosis is one. My thought process is, estrogen is essential if it can be produced naturally for a healthy body, however any excess cannot be a good thing?
Can Adenomyosis Cause Infertility and further issues during pregnancy?
Because many women who have adenomyosis may have other conditions, it is difficult to tell precisely what role adenomyosis may play in fertility problems. However, studies have shown that adenomyosis may contribute to infertility and more generally, as the uterus becomes larger is it less likely to be able to accommodate for growth and stretch as easily. More research is needed into this area, and if you are currently aware of any work currently being carried out in this arena, we would all be very interested to learn more.