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19th May 2023

Adenomyosis: The condition that impacts women more than endometriosis

Ellen Fitzpatrick

Adenomyosis is a condition not many people have heard of, but it can impact so many.

Effecting more people than endometriosis does, experts say there is still an appalling lack of knowledge and awareness of the disease.

It is estimated to affect one-in-five to one-in-three people and according to the HSE, it is: “When tissue from the womb lining becomes embedded in the wall of the womb.”

Severe cases of adenomyosis can sometimes be worse than endometriosis, causing heavy bleeding and severe pain and treatment for the disease is not as widely known as endometriosis.

What is adenomyosis?

Known as the “bad cousin” of endometriosis, the endometrial tissue grows in the wall of the uterus itself and causes inflammation, cysts and scars.

With endometriosis, cells similar to those that line the uterus grow outside of the womb and in other parts of the pelvis.

Often, women with endometriosis also have adenomyosis, with a German study finding that of 143 women with these symptoms, four in five women had both adenomyosis and endometriosis.

What are the symptoms?

The two main symptoms are severe period pain and heavy menstrual bleeding, but can also include premenstrual bloating and pain, and pain during sex.

Is it difficult to diagnose?

Similar to other health conditions, it’s hard to pinpoint. It can often be missed by a pelvic ultrasound but can be confirmed by an MRI or keyhole surgery called laparoscopy.

How is it treated?

Treatments for adenomyosis can very, many people are advised to try anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve the pain while others are on hormone medication such as the contraceptive pill.