How Do You Know if You Have Adenomyosis?
If you are experiencing chronic cramps and uncommonly heavy periods, there may be a chance you are suffering from a condition called adenomyosis. Let's review the causes and treatments so you can be prepared to spot or treat this condition in the future.
What Is Adenomyosis?
Adenomyosis occurs when your endometrial tissue begins to grow within the muscular wall of your uterus causing the tissue to thicken, break down, and bleed during your period each month. The result: severe pain and a heavy flow, along with an enlarged uterus.
What Causes Adenomyosis?
While no direct cause for adenomyosis is known at this time, possible causes may include:
- Invasive tissue growth
- Developmental growths in the uterus muscle
- Uterine inflammation related to childbirth
- Stem cell growths. This is where bone marrow stem cells attack the uterine muscle.
The development of adenomyosis relies heavily on estrogen levels, which is why it’s most common in women in their 40s and 50s, or during childbearing years. When estrogen levels decrease—usually during menopause—this condition can go away on its own.
What to Look For
Signs of adenomyosis can be both mild and silent or very apparent. If you are showing signs of adenomyosis, you may experience any of the following symptoms:
- Heavy periods
- Severe cramping
- Cramps that last throughout your period
- Pain during intercourse
- Blood clots that you pass during your period
Risks Involved If the Condition Goes Untreated
Anemia is the biggest threat, due to large amounts of blood loss. Also, the pain this condition causes can lead to a decrease in physical activity, work attendance, and other routine commitments. Over time, an enlarged uterus damages your uterus and its functions and may even lead to the need for a hysterectomy.
Remember: you don’t have to live with severe menstrual pain. If you are experiencing continued bleeding or severe cramping during your period and it’s affecting your daily routine or activities, contact your doctor right away.