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16th Feb 2024

How do adenomyosis and endometriosis differ? Lucy Mecklenburgh shares her experience

Jody Coffey

Lucy Mecklenburgh adenomyosis and endometriosis

Adenomyosis and endometriosis both affect the female pelvis and can occur separately or at the same time

Lucky Mecklenburgh has shone a light on the harsh reality of living with both adenomyosis and endometriosis.

Like many other women who suffer from the symptoms of one or both of these gynecological conditions daily, the TV personality admitted she is ‘fed up’.

The physical symptoms of adenomyosis and endometriosis can be physical, mental, and emotional; for some, they are an all-consuming condition to live with.

It is estimated that 10% of women are affected by chronic inflammatory disease endometriosis, worldwide – around 190 million females – according to the Endometriosis Association of Ireland.

Meanwhile, adenomyosis is estimated to affect 20% to 35% of females.

“It’s so horrible having zero control of symptoms”

After a segment on This Morning covered the topic of endometriosis, Lucy took the opportunity to discuss her health battles.

“Well done This Morning. For something so common in women there really isn’t much information out there & as I’m realising now a huge lack of research!

“So amazing to see a lot more conversation around endometriosis. After over a year of test I’ve recently got the answer, which is quite severe endometriosis & adenomyosis,” Lucy continued, adding that her symptoms became more visible after the birth of her second child.

Lucy shares her daughter Lilah and son Roman, three, with her husband Ryan Thomas. 

She then shared a picture of her stomach and said she has been experiencing symptom-related anxiety.

“I’m actually fed up of trying to cover the bloating I get 80% of the time. This is actually mild bloating for me,” she explained.

“I’ve tried every Spanx, every supplement — even though I knew they prob wouldn’t work — eating well and exercising does hugely help.”

Bloating is just one of the physical symptoms of adenomyosis and endometriosis and often is accompanied by pain and/or discomfort.

It is sometimes referred to as ‘Endo belly’.

As we approach the warmer months, the TOWIE star says it brings new anxieties.

“But the anxiety of spring/summer approaching and wearing swimwear and summer clothes in general is really getting to me.

“I know there’s so many worse things but it’s so horrible having zero control of symptoms like bloating even with a healthy lifestyle.”

How do adenomyosis and endometriosis differ?

Both conditions can have similar symptoms, but how do they differ?

With endometriosis, endometrial-type tissue grows outside the uterus, whereas in adenomyosis, abnormal tissue grows into the uterine muscle.

While they are different conditions, both cause abnormal tissue growth, pelvic pain, irregular and/or unusual menstrual bleeding patterns, heavy periods, and infertility and subfertility.

Like Lucy, a person can have both conditions at the same time.

Both adenomyosis and endometriosis cause abnormal growth of tissue similar to the endometrium, the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus.

According to Medical News Today, in adenomyosis, the tissue overgrows, extending into the muscle of the uterus.

For people with adenomyosis, the abdomen may feel swollen as this can cause a uterus to soften and enlarge.

In endometriosis, the tissue grows outside the uterus, often attaching to nearby structures such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

For endometriosis patients, there can be varied symptoms depending on where the endometrial tissue grows.

For example, endometrial tissue can attach to digestive organs, resulting in stomach pain or bowel dysfunction.

According to the outlet, because the symptoms are so similar, they can be difficult to diagnose as even healthcare professionals may have difficulty distinguishing one from the other.

This is especially the case for women with endometriosis, as they require surgery to get a definitive diagnosis.

It takes, on average, seven years for an endometriosis diagnosis.