Adenomyosis of the uterus is a potentially painful condition that all menstruators should know about. Women in pain face more barriers to treatment than men in pain, so the more you know about potential causes of intense pain, the better equipped you will be to advocate for yourself.
Keep reading to learn what adenomyosis symptoms to look out for, as well as the treatment options. Plus, find out how AIMA is working to close the gender pain gap and provide relief for period discomfort!
What Is Adenomyosis of the Uterus?
Adenomyosis is a condition characterized by the endometrial tissue that lines the inside of the uterus growing into the muscular walls of the uterus (myometrium). This causes the uterus to thicken and enlarge, sometimes even to double or trip its normal size, leading to extremely painful periods, abnormal bleeding, and infertility.
Like endometriosis, which we’ve discussed before, this is a disorder that involves endometrial tissue. The difference is that in adenomyosis of the uterus, the endometrial tissue grows into the muscle of the uterus, while endometriosis involves the tissue growing outside the uterus, which can include the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, and even the bowel and bladder.
Adenomyosis Symptoms You Need to Note
Doctors dismissing women’s pain is all too common, so it’s important to know what symptoms to look for. Adenomyosis shares some symptoms with other conditions that cause discomfort in the lower abdomen, including endometriosis, fibroids, and dysmenorrhea.
It is possible to have adenomyosis without knowing it, as many women don’t experience symptoms. Those who do may notice intense period pain, painful period cramps, pelvic pain, dyspareunia, and infertility. Heavy menstrual bleeding may also be a sign of adenomyosis. This not only puts women with adenomyosis at risk of intense pain but also anemia due to losing iron through blood loss.
The thickening of the uterus caused by this condition can lead to a protruding abdomen, which is known as adenomyosis belly. Adenomyosis may reduce the chances of conceiving a child. If a woman with adenomyosis does become pregnant, the condition can lead to complications, including miscarriage or premature labour.
What Causes Adenomyosis?
The exact cause of adenomyosis of the uterus is unknown, but it is more common in women who have given birth. It tends to affect menstruators aged 35 to 50 who have had at least one pregnancy, have uterine fibroids, and suffer from endometriosis.
Some medical professionals believe that inflammation of the uterus after childbirth may break barriers that allow endometrial cells to enter the muscle wall of the uterus. Other theories suggest that endometrial cells grow into uterine muscle due to an incision made during surgery (such as during a C-section delivery), or simply due to stem cells present in the uterine wall from birth that only begins growing later in life.
More research is needed to shed light on the cause of this and other conditions that leave women in pain. As we work to close the gender pain gap, we hope that more funding will be devoted to issues around period discomfort!
Current Adenomyosis Treatments
As is the case with several other conditions that cause ovarian pain or other intense pain for women, there is no cure for adenomyosis – only the management of symptoms. If adenomyosis is suspected based on symptoms, your doctor will need to perform further tests. These may include a pelvic exam, a transvaginal ultrasound, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of your pelvic area. These images can reveal an enlarged uterus and thickening of muscle that would indicate adenomyosis.
The most common way to manage the extremely painful period that may come with adenomyosis is with medicines like naproxen or ibuprofen. Since estrogen encourages the growth of endometrial tissue, hormonal birth control that stops menstruation and reduces estrogen levels can help provide relief. Ultimately, removing the uterus through a hysterectomy is the only long-term solution.
Women who wish to get pregnant or are worried about the potential negative effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may want to try alternative therapies such as acupuncture or physical therapy. Adenomyosis symptoms should stop after menopause, so your treatment choice should depend on your age.
How Can AIMA’s OVY CBD Vaginal Suppository Help With This Uterine Condition?
Whether you have Adenomyosis of the uterus or another condition that causes intense pain, there is an exciting new form of support. Instead of suffering from untreated pain, why not try an innovative solution that could help with period pain?
The OVY is a CBD-enhanced vaginal suppository that acts on cannabinoid receptors in the reproductive tract. In other words, the naturally derived active ingredients work at the source of the pain to provide localized, fast-acting relief for period discomfort.
Along with developing safe, effective menstruator-centric products, we’re committed to exercising our values of transparency, accountability, and science focus to break the silence around period pain.
We’ve seen too many examples of when doctors downplay women’s health concerns, and we’re doing everything we can to close the pain gap! Do you have a story to share about adenomyosis? If so, email us and help us raise awareness (#myperiodstory)!