Frequently Asked Questions about adenomyosis
What's the difference between adenomyosis and endometriosis?
Adenomyosis and endometriosis are both caused by the uterine lining (also known as the endometrial lining) moving to and growing into other surfaces and organs. Endometriosis occurs when the endometrial lining is present outside the uterus. Adenomyosis occurs when the uterine lining grows into the uterine muscle. Both endometriosis and adenomyosis can cause infertility.
Will adenomyosis show up on ultrasound?
Just like endometriosis, adenomyosis will not show up on ultrasound. And like endometriosis, it may be identified by ultrasound in more advanced cases. The best method for diagnosing adenomyosis by imaging is MRI, but even that test can miss up to 20 – 30% of patients that have adenomyosis.
What is the best test for imaging adenomyosis?
MRI is the most accurate, but as noted above can miss the disease in a significant number of patients. In addition, MRI is expensive, and many insurance companies will require authorization for this test. If you think you have this condition, see a specialist who understands the disease and knows how to diagnose and treat it.
Why is adenomyosis frequently underdiagnosed?
OBGYN’s often underdiagnosis adenomyosis because it is not identified on ultrasound or pelvic exam. Most patients have a normal or slightly larger uterus, so pelvic exam is not helpful. Since ultrasound cannot detect this disease, severe pain and bleeding goes unanswered when the ultrasound is normal. Adenomyosis is mostly a “clinical” diagnosis, meaning that the patient’s history and symptoms will usually identify the condition.
Who can get adenomyosis?
Patients who have had surgery to the uterus are at higher risk. This is because injury to the uterine muscle and the lining leads to a pathway for the lining to invade into the muscle. Cesarean section often leads to this disease, as does myomectomy, which is the surgical removal of fibroids from the uterus. Adenomyosis is generally a disease seen in patients greater than 35 years of age, but also can occur in younger patients. There may also be a genetic tendency for this disease to occur, meaning it has been passed down from generation to generation.
What happens if adenomyosis goes untreated?
Leaving adenomyosis untreated can result in more severe symptoms over time, including heavy bleeding, painful periods, and abdominal pressure and bloating. If bleeding becomes too heavy and too frequent, the condition could cause anemia, which can be life-threatening.
Can you live with adenomyosis?
It’s possible to live with adenomyosis as long as the condition is not causing severe symptoms like heavy bleeding or pelvic pain. When symptoms begin to affect your quality of life, it may be time to consider definitive treatment.
How can you manage the pain of adenomyosis?
In some cases, adenomyosis pain can be temporarily managed with medication such as hormonal birth control. But the only way to permanently relieve adenomyosis pain is through a hysterectomy.
Does adenomyosis increase the risk of cancer?
No, adenomyosis does not increase the risk of cancer nor is adenomyosis tissue cancerous. However, that doesn’t mean cancer cannot occur. Some types of GYN cancer, like endometrial cancer, may cause symptoms that are similar to those of adenomyosis.
To learn more, read our blog about GYN cancer screening and prevention.
Does adenomyosis affect your bowels?
An enlarged uterus, which is often an effect of adenomyosis, can cause added pressure to surrounding organs like the bowel. This added pressure may cause symptoms like diarrhea, constipation and painful bowel movements.
Can you have in vitro fertilization (IVF) with adenomyosis?
While it is possible to have in vitro fertilization (IVF) when you have adenomyosis, it may not be successful. Because adenomyosis causes the walls of the uterus to thicken, leading to inflammation, it can make implantation of a fertilized embryo more difficult.
The CIGC Difference
Unlike a standard OBGYN, CIGC’s adenomyosis specialists perform laparoscopic surgeries every day. DualPortGYN was developed by the CIGC minimally invasive GYN specialists to improve the outcomes of hysterectomies. DualPortGYN takes advantage of advanced surgical techniques that enhance the safety and lower the complication rates of each procedure.
While hysterectomy is the primary surgical solution for adenomyosis, any course of treatment is discussed thoroughly with you by the specialists and is weighed against each patient’s goals for fertility.
Schedule a Consultation
If you think you have adenomyosis, our specialists are ready to provide an evaluation of your symptoms and conditions and recommend an appropriate solution.