One of the first signs of a problem with your reproductive health is abnormal or painful periods. Of the many conditions that can lead to issues with your menstrual cycles, adenomyosis is one, and we review this condition here.
Whatever’s causing your symptoms, rest assured that Dr. Fernando Otero and our team have the expertise and experience you need to get on the road to better reproductive health.
At Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley, we believe in giving you the knowledge to pursue the next steps in improving your health. To help you better understand the field of possibilities, we take a closer look at adenomyosis.
Adenomyosis at a glance
Your uterus features a lining — your endometrium — which thickens with each menstrual cycle and then sheds out, which is what creates your period. With adenomyosis, this lining grows into the walls of your uterus — your myometrium — which are largely made up of muscles.
When this happens, this displaced endometrial tissue still behaves normally, thickening with your menstrual cycles each month. Problems develop, however, when this tissue attempts to shed out and can’t, causing your uterus to become increasingly thickened and enlarged.
Adenomyosis typically develops between the ages of 35 and 50, and it may affect 20-65% of women. The reason for the large range in prevalence is that many women who have adenomyosis are unaware of the condition, which resolves itself after menopause.
When it comes to what causes adenomyosis, we’re not exactly sure, but we do know that it affects black women more often than white women. One study found that black women are almost twice as likely to develop adenomyosis. As well, adenomyosis most often develops in women who’ve had at least one child already.
The symptoms of adenomyosis
As we mentioned, many women are unaware that they have adenomyosis, but this isn’t always the case. Depending upon the degree of the thickening and enlargement, you may experience:
- Painful periods
- Heavy bleeding
- Pelvic pain
- Pain during intercourse
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important that you come see for a full evaluation so that we can identify and treat the problem.
If we confirm that you have adenomyosis, your treatment largely depends upon the degree of your symptoms and how close you are to resolution of the problem as you reach menopause.
With periods that aren't too painful, over-the-counter medications can usually relieve the discomfort.
If, however, your periods represent moderate quality-of-life issues, we may turn to hormone therapies to control your estrogen levels. Your endometrium thickens with each cycle in response to an increase in estrogen. To prevent this from happening, we can use oral contraception or a hormonal intrauterine device to better control your estrogen levels.
If menopause is years away and you’re struggling with severe symptoms, we may recommend a hysterectomy, which puts an end to your adenomyosis.
If you have more questions about adenomyosis, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our offices in McAllen or Edinburg, Texas. You can call or use online booking to set up an appointment.