Abnormal uterine bleeding could be adenomyosis
If you experience abnormal bleeding, including heavy or painful periods, you may have adenomyosis. This is a common problem, particularly if you have reached middle age.
Adenomyosis is non-cancerous. If your symptoms are bothersome, you will need treatment. Many times, women who have adenomyosis also have other gynecological problems such as fibroids or endometriosis.
What causes adenomyosis?
Specifically, adenomyosis happens when the tissue that lines your uterus (called endometrial tissue) forms nodules. Nodules are like tiny masses of cells that form where they should not. Usually, if you have adenomyosis, your uterus will be enlarged. You may have painful or heavy periods, bleeding between periods, or you may have no symptoms at all.
How do I know if I have adenomyosis?
Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of abnormal uterine bleeding, including painful periods, heavy bleeding during your period or other problems associated with your monthly cycle. Your doctor will likely do a physical exam to see if your uterus is enlarged. They will also see if the uterus contracts normally and if it is spongy to the touch—both symptoms of adenomyosis.
It can be difficult to diagnose adenomyosis for certain. Therefore, your doctor may also want to do an ultrasound or MRI to get a closer look. In addition, if you need to have a hysterectomy, your doctor can diagnose adenomyosis by examining a specimen from your uterus under a microscope. Unfortunately, this is not an option for women who do not need or wish to have a hysterectomy.
Treating your adenomyosis
At Main Line Health, our goal is to help you feel better and reduce your symptoms caused by adenomyosis. Different treatment options offer different levels of help to each individual woman. Some treatments offered include:
- Embolization of the uterine artery: This procedure is done to block the formation of new blood vessels, which may be causing excessive bleeding.
- Endometrial ablation: This procedure uses laser, heat, freezing or another method to cause scarring to the lining of the uterus in order to reduce abnormal bleeding.
- Hormone therapy: This treatment may include taking birth control pills in order to regulate your menstrual cycle, which may help reduce symptoms of adenomyosis.
- Hysterectomy: This procedure is a complete removal of the uterus, with or without removal of the ovaries.