Other Name: Myometrium
Adenomyosis is an enlarged uterus caused by growth of endometrial tissue into the uterine tissue. This means that the lining of the uterus grows into the wall and muscle of the uterus. The tissue keeps working just like the uterine lining — it gets thicker and then breaks down every month during your period.
It is not clear how common adenomyosis is since many women do not have symptoms. Estimates range from 5 percent to 70 percent, but 8 percent to 30 percent is probably a more accurate range. It is most common in women in their 40s and 50s who have had children.
Adenomyosis depends on estrogen circulating in a woman’s body. When the estrogen levels go down (for example, at menopause or after a hysterectomy), adenomyosis symptoms stop.
The cause of adenomyosis remains unknown, but the disease typically disappears after menopause. For women who experience severe discomfort from adenomyosis, certain treatments can help, but hysterectomy is the only cure.
Sometimes, adenomyosis is silent — causing no signs or symptoms — or only mildly uncomfortable. In other cases, adenomyosis may cause:
*Heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding
*Severe cramping or sharp, knifelike pelvic pain during menstruation (dysmenorrhea)
*Menstrual cramps that last throughout the period and worsen as one gets older
*Pain during intercourse
*Blood clots that pass during the period
*Pain in the pelvis or belly
The uterus may get bigger. Although it may not be felt enlarged,
but one may notice that her lower abdomen seems bigger or feels tender.
Adenomyosis causes are mostly unknown. However, expert theories about a possible cause include:
*The endometrial tissue invades the uterus
*The tissue was there from the time your body was formed as a fetus
*Inflammation from childbirth disrupts the boundary between the endometrium and uterine wall
*Bone marrow stem cells enter the uterine tissue and cause new growth of endometrial tissue
*Stem cell origins. A recent theory proposes that bone marrow stem cells may invade the uterine muscle, causing adenomyosis.
The causes of the uterus to be enlarged.:-
In the case of adenomyosis, uterus enlargement is caused by endometrial cells growing throughout the normal uterine tissue. Endometrial tissue thickens naturally as part of its growth and shedding process. The uterus may also become inflamed, or swollen, from the misplaced endometrial tissue, which can also increase its size. Finally, it is common for women with adenomyosis to have other growths in the uterine wall that can increase the size of the uterus.
Regardless of how adenomyosis develops, its growth depends on the circulating estrogen in a woman’s body. When estrogen production decreases at menopause, adenomyosis eventually goes away.
Risk factors may include:
*Being in your 40s or 50s
*Having had more than one pregnancy
*Previous surgery on the uterus, including C-sections and some types of abortions
*Use of tamoxifen for breast cancer
Most women with adenomyosis do not require treatment. The condition is hard to diagnose and many times can only be confirmed after a hysterectomy. For women who are close to menopause, treatment may be less aggressive than for younger women unless symptoms are severe. This is because adenomyosis usually disappears after menopause, when estrogen levels drop.
For women with adenomyosis symptoms, conventional treatment may include:
*Over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.
*Hormonal birth control. Pills that have a combination of estrogen and progestin or patches or rings that have this combination are sometimes prescribed to relieve pain and bleeding. Progestin-only pills or intrauterine devices can also cause periods to stop, which also stops period-related symptoms.
*Tissue destruction. Procedures such as endometrial ablation and MRI-guided focused ultrasound surgery try to destroy the endometrial tissue that is causing adenomyosis. These procedures may not work for everyone and more research is needed.
*Hysterectomy. This is surgical removal of the uterus. It permanently cures adenomyosis but is a major surgery. Adenomyosis hysterectomy is only done for women who have severe symptoms and who do not wish to have any more children.
Natural treatments for adenomyosis generally involve managing the menstrual pain and bleeding caused by the condition.
Natural tips for managing adenomyosis symptoms include:
*Use heating pads
*Get massage therapy or acupressure
*Try herbs and supplements
*Altering the diet
*Ask about TENS
Herbs and supplements:
A wide variety of herbal remedies have been used throughout history and around the world for painful, long or heavy periods. Some options with research supporting their usefulness for pain relief, mood improvement, or bleeding reduction include:
*Valerian: A high-quality study found that valerian was effective at reducing pain during a period when given in 255 milligram doses three times per day for three days at the start of a period, for two periods in a row. The researchers believe the herb worked because of its antispasmodic effects.
*Rosa damascena (Damask rose): A study compared the use of a painkiller to Rosa damascena extract on painful periods. The two worked equally well and were effective in reducing pain intensity.
*Chinese herbal medicine: Some research suggests that combinations of Chinese herbs may help with painful periods. The most popular (based on prescriptions in Taiwan) are Corydalis yanhusuo, Cyperus rotundus, and Dang-Gui-Shao-Yao-San, or combinations containing these herbs.
*Rhubarb (Rheum emodi): Women taking capsules of rhubarb powder twice a day for two days before their period started and throughout the first three days of their period had a significant decrease in pain and its duration. In this study, other symptoms and quality of life were also better after taking the capsules to treat their period-related pain.
*Vitamin B1 and vitamin E: In a review of human studies, vitamin B1 at 100 milligrams per day was identified as an effective pain relief option for painful periods. A review of trials using herbal and dietary supplements to treat period-related symptoms found positive effects for women who had painful periods taking vitamin B1 and vitamin E.
*Frankincense and myrrh: In a study in mice with painful periods (measured by signs of pain such as writhing), myrrh water extract, frankincense extract and a combination of the two were effective at reducing inflammation and pain. Although the doses in the study are not scaled for humans, the anti-inflammatory and pain-relief abilities of these herbs may also help women with painful periods.
*Magnesium: In a review of studies of natural pain relief for painful periods, magnesium was effective at reducing pain. However, the studies used different doses so there is no clear dose that is known to be the best option.
*Omega-3 fatty acids: In a small trial comparing fish oil to placebo pills, fish oil was more effective at relieving menstrual pain.
*Chamomile: In a large review of natural therapies for menstrual pain, one study was identified that found chamomile to be more effective than OTC non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Other possible herbs and supplements with some support in terms of formal research include fenugreek, fennel, ginger, chasteberry, cumin, a combination of fish oil and vitamin B1, peppermint, “true” cinnamon or Cinnamomum zeylanicum, thiamine, pyridoxine, zataria, and zinc sulphate.
In general, however, there is virtually no data on safety. If you choose to use herbal remedies or supplements for menstrual pain or heavy bleeding, do so with caution. Consult a health care professional before you start any new herbs or supplements, since they can interact with other medications.
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Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.