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What is uterine adenomyosis? — Uterine adenomyosis is a condition that causes heavy, painful periods. In people who have uterine adenomyosis, the uterus gets larger than normal (figure 1). This happens because the kind of cells that normally line the inside of the uterus start to grow in the walls of the uterus. Uterine adenomyosis will be called just "adenomyosis" here.
Adenomyosis often happens along with other problems that affect the uterus, especially endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition in which the kind of cells normally found only in the uterus starts to grow outside of the uterus.
What are the symptoms of adenomyosis? — The symptoms can include:
●Pain in the lower belly
Should I see a doctor or nurse? — Yes. If you have very heavy or painful periods, see your doctor or nurse. Often, there are treatments that can help.
Will I need tests? — Maybe. None of the tests that are available can show for sure whether you have adenomyosis. Even so, there are some tests that can help your doctor or nurse figure out what might be causing your symptoms. For example, your doctor or nurse might send you for an ultrasound or MRI. These tests create pictures of the inside of your body. They can show whether your uterus is enlarged.
How is adenomyosis treated? — The only proven treatment for adenomyosis is surgery to remove the uterus, called a hysterectomy. But there are other treatment options that might reduce the heavy bleeding caused by adenomyosis, including:
●IUD – An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small device that fits inside the uterus and is normally used to prevent pregnancy. One type of IUD, which releases the hormone progestin, might help with the symptoms of adenomyosis. (IUDs must be placed in the uterus by a doctor or nurse.)
●Endometrial ablation – This is surgery to cause scarring in the lining of the uterus, which makes periods less heavy.
●Uterine artery embolization – This is a treatment that decreases the blood supply to the uterus.
Treatments that can ease the pain of adenomyosis include:
●Pain medicines, such as ibuprofen (sample brand names: Advil, Motrin)
●Birth control pills
●A medicine called leuprolide (brand names: Lupron, Eligard), which causes your ovaries to stop making the hormones estrogen and progesterone
What if I want to get pregnant? — If you want to get pregnant, you should not have a hysterectomy, endometrial ablation, or uterine artery embolization. Instead, work with your doctor to find other treatment options until you plan to have no more children.
Patient education: Heavy periods (The Basics)
Patient education: Painful periods (The Basics)
Patient education: Uterine fibroids (The Basics)
Patient education: Endometriosis (The Basics)
Patient education: Deciding to have a hysterectomy (The Basics)
Patient education: Heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia) (Beyond the Basics)
Patient education: Painful menstrual periods (dysmenorrhea) (Beyond the Basics)
Patient education: Uterine fibroids (Beyond the Basics)
Patient education: Endometriosis (Beyond the Basics)
Patient education: Abdominal hysterectomy (Beyond the Basics)
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