What Is an Adenomyoma?

An adenomyoma refers to an abnormal growth within the muscle tissue lining of the uterus.
Unlike endometriosis, adenomyosis often causes a swollen or tender lower abdomen.
An adenomyoma may go undetected until a routine gynecological exam.
Birth control pills can be taken to treat adenomyoma.
A large adenomyoma may cause abdominal discomfort and tenderness.
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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2014
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An adenomyoma is an abnormal growth within the muscle tissue lining of the uterus. It is formed when endometrial tissue, the cells that normally make up the innermost lining of the uterus, start growing spontaneously deep within the uterine walls. An adenomyoma is usually benign and does not cause symptoms, though an especially large growth may cause discomfort, tenderness, and heavy bleeding during menstrual periods. Treatment usually involves taking pain medications and using contraceptives to reduce menstrual problems. A very painful mass may need to be removed surgically, either by cutting the growth out or removing the entire uterus via hysterectomy.

The exact causes of adenomyoma growth are unclear. The actual disorder that spurs the development of the mass is called adenomyosis, which is very similar to another type of uterine cell displacement called endometriosis. Adenomyosis does not always result in an adenomyoma. As endometrial cells start invading muscle tissue, they may spread uniformly and cause the tissue lining to thicken. Adenomyomas occur when clusters of cells protrude through the muscle layer.

An adenomyoma may or may not cause symptoms. When symptoms are present, they may include heavy menstrual bleeding and spotting between periods. Adenomyomas can be tender and cause significant pain during menstruation and intercourse. Symptoms tend to worsen over time if they are not assessed and treated in the early stages of adenomyosis.

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In many cases, minor problems go undetected until a woman has a routine gynecological exam. The doctor might discover a small lump and arrange for tests to determine if it is an adenomyoma, a fibroid, or a cancerous tumor. Ultrasounds are useful in studying the composition of the mass, and doctors can usually rule out cancer based on imaging tests alone. A biopsy may be necessary if ultrasound tests are inconclusive.

Treatment depends on the size and severity of an adenomyoma. If the growth does not cause problems, a doctor might suggest simply coming in for routine examinations. Minor pain and bleeding can usually be controlled with anti-inflammatory drugs and oral contraceptives. Patients are discouraged from trying to get pregnant because of possible complications.

A small to medium-sized adenomyoma that is clearly defined and causes major symptoms may be removed surgically. In many cases, however, adenomyosis affects a larger area of the uterus than just the noticeable mass. Hysterectomy is the only reliable, certain cure for the condition. Modern surgical techniques allow women to undergo hysterectomies as simple outpatient procedures with short recovery times and very few risks.

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anon924149
Post 4

I have to agree with you @ sapphire12. What is so messed up for me is I have had pain for over 10 years. It was suggested I had endometriosis, but after surgery they removed an ovary instead, saying multiple cysts.

Well, after surgery, the pain was still there. I have had so many different types of hormone treatments. I have had many miscarriages, as well as complicated pregnancies.

Back in 2006, an ultrasound revealed a growth on my uterus and they diagnosed it as an ectopic pregnancy. In 2012 an ultrasound finds a growth on my uterus and my GYN states it's normal. Now, I just recently had an ultrasound that revealed this growth again and this term has come up. I almost want to scream, because this explains so much, but it has taken over 10 years to realize what was causing this. I guess it has gotten big enough that they are taking notice of it now.

anon231927
Post 3

there is no other way except an operation for adenomyoma.

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Post 2

@sapphire12- The article does say this is a bit different from the endometriosis-related growths, but I know what you mean. Even more confusing is that some doctors call these sorts of things "normal" while others think they are far from it. I find it disappointing that women's health has so far to go in understanding these things.

sapphire12
Post 1

There are so many different names for the growths on a uterus. I have heard them called cysts, abscesses, lesions, and now adenomyoma. I'm not sure that these are very different- and the treatment is almost always described the same way regardless of the name- but it does make researching these things even more confusing that way.

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