What’s Out of Place
Though not everyone experiences the telltale symptoms of the condition, many women suffer from a medical disorder called adenomyosis, which means that the lining of their uterus or endometrial tissue is displaced, yet fully functioning as it would under normal circumstances. During a typical menstrual period, endometrial tissue thickens the walls of the uterus, breaks down, and then bleeds; for women with adenomyosis, however, this cycle can become painful because the displaced tissue often enlarges the uterus and causes heavy bleeding.
Feelings of Displacement
For some women, adenomyosis never presents itself in a noticeable way. For others, the condition causes only minor discomfort. For women with more severe cases, however, every menstrual cycle becomes almost debilitating, as they experience symptoms including:
- Extreme cramping or sharp, stabbing pains
- Abnormally heavy blood flow
- Lengthened bleeding
- Cramps that increase in intensity with age
- Painful intercourse
- Blood clots
- Noticeable swelling or tenderness in the abdominal region due to an enlargement of the uterus
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Where’s the Disconnect?
The exact causes for developing adenomyosis have not been determined, though it is dependent on estrogen to worsen. The older the woman, the more her body has been exposed to estrogen, which may be why women in their 40s and 50s generally suffer to a greater extent than younger women. Other causes may include:
- Fetal-stage development of displaced endometrial tissue
- Inflammation of the uterus after childbirth or any surgical procedure on the uterus, during which time cells that line the uterus might have been broken and result in displacement of the endometrial tissue
- Invasion of bone marrow stem cells into the uterine muscle
- Invasion of endometrial cells into the muscles of the uterine walls, which may occur after a C-section or any other incision has been made to the uterus
Adenomyosis can often be limiting in ways that affect both lifestyle and relationships, as the resultant pain and excessive bleeding may restrict normal activities and even cause depression, anxiety, anger, and other emotional health issues. Though it is generally not dangerous, the heavy blood loss may result in chronic anemia, causing fatigue and other health concerns.
Finding Your Place
Despite the fact that adenomyosis goes away after menopause, many women will need to discuss their condition with a urogynecologist to find relief. The most effective treatment options include the use of anti-inflammatory medications to relieve the pain and reduce blood flow; hormonal birth control to reduce or eliminate periods; or partial hysterectomy to remove the uterus.
Don’t let pain displace your happiness and health! Give the team at Coyle Institute a call today!