Menstrual cramps are possibly the horrendous condition ladies could imagine. They’re often dealt with painkillers, warm baths, and a hot water bottle. Excessive menstrual cramps indicate extremely painful or heavy periods that might have a serious effect on the life of the sufferer. These are caused by a lesser-known condition called “Adenomyosis.”
Adenomyosis is a condition where the endometrium is also present on the inside muscular wall of the uterus. The endometrium is the tissue that grows on the lining of the uterus. Adenomyosis occurs when the endometrium breaks through the muscle wall of the uterus. Thus, we can say that it is the outcome of infiltration of the uterine lining into the muscle wall. It is a common but under-recognized condition, characterized by an enlarged uterus.
Also read- How To Make Your Periods Come Earlier?
Research experts estimate that every one in 10 women is affected by the condition.
When you are on your periods, this adenomyotic tissue also swells up and bleeds within the uterine wall. This can possibly cause severe period pain, cramps and heavy periods. In some cases, the uterus increases to such a size that a lump can be felt in the lower abdomen. It also exerts pressure on the bladder and bowel, causing urinary frequency and constipation.
In spite of that, a lot of women do not have any symptoms at all. Unfortunately, many women go for a long time without a diagnosis. This might be because they possibly confuse the symptoms of Adenomyosis with that of other conditions. For example, pelvic pain is common during Adenomyosis but women might mistake the condition as a pelvic inflammatory disease which also comes with pain in the pelvic region. Others may not seek medical advice, believing the pain is normal.
How does the condition arise?
Many women live with this condition without ever having a diagnosis made. However, it can affect the quality of life significantly like heavy bleeding may cause anemia and lead to extreme tiredness.
There are several theories explaining the possible causes of Adenomyosis. Experts detect an increased risk of the condition if the womb is injured anyway. Cesarean section is the most common injury. After a C-section, the lining of the womb tries to heal itself. Meanwhile, the re-growth happens inwards instead of outwards, leading to Adenomyosis.
On the other hand, Adenomyosis is also reported in women who haven’t had any injury to the womb. Genes, hormones and immune system are the other possible factors contributing to the situation.
How to treat Adenomyosis?
Before getting to know that how is the condition treated, note that age and whether you want children are the two factors to be minded before any kind of treatment. The respective condition improves during and after pregnancy and after menopause.
Painkillers are opted as the first line of management to make the periods less painful. Medications are also used to lower the bleeding as well. Hormonal injections can also be taken to make a temporary and reversible ‘false’ menopause. However, this might not work for the long-term.
Another treatment for the condition is uterine artery embolization. It involves having small particles injected into your blood vessels through a catheter in the groin. It cuts off the blood supply to the Adenomyosis. It is less invasive than surgery and there are no major safety concerns reported regarding the treatment. Moreover, it is effective for a short-to-medium term.
Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the womb. It might work for women who do not want to become pregnant. Along with all these options, a healthy diet, stretching, yoga, and gentle exercise can work for the condition effectively.
Adenomyosis is a lesser-known condition. However, more and more people are getting aware of it. Plus, the increasing availability of ultrasound scans will lead to a higher detection rate. This is good news indeed as early diagnosis will help in timely treatment and improving the quality of life for women.