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Adenomyosis is a medical condition of the uterus that causes endometrial tissue to grow in the muscular outer walls of a woman’s uterus. Endometrial tissue is normally found in the inner lining of the uterus. The most common adenomyosis symptoms include unusually heavy bleeding during a woman’s menstrual periods as well as pain during menstruation. This medical condition often causes the uterus to grow abnormally large, even two or three times its normal size. It is also common for some women with adenomyosis to have no symptoms at all.
Menstrual periods may become unusually heavy in women who have adenomyosis symptoms. In some cases, heavy menstrual bleeding causes blood to soak through a sanitary pad in one hour and can make it necessary for a woman to change her protection during nighttime hours. Large blood clots may be passed during this abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding. Adenomyosis can cause bleeding between periods in some instances and may even result in bleeding after menopause. Increased menstrual bleeding can also develop from other causes such as uterine cancer, endometrial hyperplasia and fibroids of the uterus.
Pain during menstruation commonly occurs with adenomyosis and typically causes aching or painful cramping in a woman’s lower abdomen. The pain may also be intermittent and sharp with this uterine disorder. In some cases, back pain can result from this condition. Menstrual pain may start several days prior to the beginning of a woman’s menstrual period, or it may only become noticeable at the start of menstruation in some instances. Pain during menstruation can also be caused by fibroids and other medical conditions including endometriosis and ovarian cysts.
The cause of most cases of adenomyosis is often unknown, although some cases may result from an invasion of endometrial cells following a Cesarean section or other uterine surgical procedure. Some unborn female babies can develop this medical condition from endometrial cells that form on the uterine walls of the developing fetus. Childbirth may trigger adenomyosis in some women, and most patients with this medical condition are over the age of 30.
Patients with common adenomyosis symptoms usually benefit from a pelvic examination by a medical doctor. Physicians typically use one or more medical tests to help them identify adenomyosis. An ultrasound examination of the uterus may help physicians diagnose adenomyosis or other causes of adenomyosis symptoms such as uterine tumors.
Many women who develop adenomyosis after menopause do not have symptoms and do not typically receive treatment for the condition. In some instances, pain medication may be helpful for severe menstrual pain. Heavy bleeding can be lessened in some women with the help of an intrauterine device (IUD) containing progesterone or with birth control pills. Younger patients with this medical condition may undergo a hysterectomy in some instances where their symptoms are severe.
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