Many women, like myself, were unaware that Adenomyosis and Endometriosis were different conditions—they are! Let’s go over the different symptoms and treatments so you are equipped with the necessary knowledge when going to your doctor for help.
Let’s start with Adenomyosis; this condition occurs when endometrial-like tissue overgrows and ends up growing into the muscle of your uterus. We will dive into the symptoms of both of these conditions later, but for now, a symptom that is unique to Adenomyosis is the swelling and softening of the uterus. Due to the excess amount of tissue being created, the uterus becomes enlarged and this can cause more tenderness and lower belly pain. Also, Adenomyosis can sometimes be recognized and diagnosed by performing an MRI or a transvaginal ultrasound to see the enlarged thickness of the uterus. This condition is most commonly found in women over the age of 40.
On the other hand, Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when endometrial-like tissue grows outside the uterus, oftentimes in the fallopian tubes or the ovaries. Since it grows on the outside, Endometriosis can have a few different symptoms than Adenomyosis. Depending on where the tissue grows, this condition can obstruct other organs, worsen stomach pain, or inhibit bowels. This condition is most commonly diagnosed in women ranging from age 25 to 40.
Both conditions have similar symptoms such as irregular or worse periods, pelvic pains (especially on your period), infertility, and pain with sex.
A person can have both conditions at once. Since the symptoms and causes are so similar, it can be difficult, even for doctors, to tell the difference when diagnosing. In most cases, a definite diagnosis requires surgery to look at the endometrial tissue.
Now let's talk about treatment!
The first line of treatment tends to be hormonal medications such as birth control or the androgen-increasing drug Danazol. Other options include non-hormonal medications like tranexamic acid or Cabergoline to help reduce some of the symptoms.
For Adenomyosis, adenomyomectomy is also an option for treatment. It is a conservative surgery that preserves the uterus but removes abnormal tissue within it.
The final treatment option is a hysterectomy. This is a procedure that completely removes the uterus, resulting in the inability to get pregnant or have a period. Adenomyosis can be permanently cured by a hysterectomy, however, endometriosis symptoms can be lessened but not cured using this method.
No matter which condition you may have, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Countless women are in the same boat, and you can rest assured that there are treatments available to help manage your symptoms. Don't forget to reach out to your doctor, friends, and family for support, and to take care of yourself. With proper care and attention, you can live a happy, healthy life.
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