Difference Between Adenomyosis & Endometriosis
Adenomyosis and endometriosis are not the same condition. Although they can occur together, endometriosis is when endometrial cells (the lining of the uterus) are in a location outside of the uterus. Adenomyosis is when these cells exist or grow into the uterine wall. Although both can cause pain, endometriosis does not always cause heavy bleeding.
Women with GYN conditions know the interruptions that arise from pelvic pain and heavy bleeding. While there are multiple conditions that can cause these symptoms, endometriosis and adenomyosis are fairly common. That’s not to say they are normal.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis occurs when cells from the uterine lining implant in areas outside of the uterus. The problem is that the implants have no way to leave the body. The uterus is designed to funnel broken-down menstrual tissue out of the body with each menstrual cycle. Debris from the endometrial implants remains in the body, potentially causing other problems like pelvic adhesions or infertility.
How to Diagnose Endometriosis
Pelvic exams or ultrasounds are often relied on to find anything unusual going in or around the uterus, but a laparoscopy is the only way to definitively diagnose endometriosis. The laparoscopic exam allows the doctor to make the most thorough evaluation of the condition to see how extensive it is.
Who Can Be Affected by Endometriosis?
Endometriosis can occur at any stage in a woman’s reproductive years. Many people believe the misconception that endometriosis only starts after age 35, but it’s possible to develop the condition at any point after beginning menstruation.
What is Adenomyosis?
Adenomyosis occurs when endometrial cells grow into the walls of the uterus. Like endometriosis, the cells behave as they would normally act, and are affected each month with a woman’s period. The extra cell growth enlarges the uterus and causes pelvic pain and heavy bleeding.
How to Diagnose Adenomyosis
Adenomyosis can only be truly diagnosed after a hysterectomy, with a full evaluation of the uterus. A doctor may suspect adenomyosis based on initial evaluations, including the symptoms described above, a pelvic exam, ultrasound or MRI screenings. These can help to rule out other conditions that could be causing the same symptoms, like fibroids or uterine polyps.
Who Can Be Affected by Adenomyosis
There is no consensus on the percentage of women who are affected by adenomyosis. Although it most commonly affects women in their 40s and 50s, it can occur even among teenagers. Once a woman starts menstruating, she is at risk of developing adenomyosis.
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GYN surgical specialists can often see women sooner than a standard OBGYN because they are focused entirely on surgery. Each patient gets detailed, in–depth attention from Natalya Danilyants, MD, or Paul MacKoul, MD. This personalized care helps patients understand their condition and the recommended treatment so they can have confidence from the very start. Our surgeons have performed over 25,000 GYN procedures and are constantly finding ways to improve outcomes for patients.
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Women looking for a GYN specialist for a laparoscopic hysterectomy, endometriosis excision or fibroid removal travel to CIGC from around the world.
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