Adenomyosis

I got a visit from a wonderful friend, Omotara who got in sad and almost closed to tears after seeing her Gynecologist, had fun as I would say, because we laughed, cried, shared encouragements and most importantly learned a lot from doing research and sharing doctor notes and diagnosis.  She has been trying to conceive for 12 years now and it’s been one story to the other. She had a Myomectomy surgery and afterwards was told of a condition she has called Adenomyosis.  Now that wasn’t the first time I have heard that name, a friend told me his wife was told same thing two years ago. So I decided to ask my doctor friends about it and also did some research. I thought it would be great info for us to have and learn about.

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Photo courtesy google

Adenomyosis is a condition where the endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, exists within and grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. This happens most often late in your childbearing years especially after having children. However, statistics shows that it is now very common in women who have issues with infertility; it is however not the cause of infertility but could affect it if you have endometriosis as well. Adenomyosis is very different from endometriosis — another condition in which the uterine lining becomes implanted outside the uterus — although women with Adenomyosis often also have endometriosis. The cause of Adenomyosis remains unknown. For women who experience severe discomfort from Adenomyosis, certain treatments can help, but hysterectomy is the only cure.

Another study says Adenomyosis is a condition that can affect a woman’s fertility if it develops during her childbearing years, but research is still preliminary, and questions about the impact of the condition on conception rates and pregnancy risks currently remain unanswered. Women with Adenomyosis have higher miscarriage rates than women without the condition, as much as double the risk of pregnancy loss, and they also appear to have an increased risk of premature labor and abruptio placentae (a condition when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall during pregnancy). Women trying to get pregnant may find that gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists (GnRH-a), such as Lupron, or aromatase inhibitors help reduce symptoms, while preserving and perhaps improving fertility, this is close to what has been prescribed to Omotara.

 

Women who want to get pregnant may also consider non-hysterectomy surgical options such as cytoreductive surgery, laparoscopic surgery, uterine artery embolization (which shrinks the damage by cutting off the blood flow to the affected area) and endometrial ablation (which reduces or removes the lining of the uterus). A relatively new non-invasive procedure called magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) — in which a concentrated burst of ultrasound energy destroys damaged cells without harming surrounding tissue — also shows promise as a fertility-restoring treatment for women with Adenomyosis who want to become pregnant.

Omotara has always complained of her bulging tummy which made a lot of people ask her if she was pregnant, that was more painful especially when she was not. She finally understood as we read together some of the symptoms of Adenomyosis which is said to be silent and most times goes undetected except when one is querying some causes of infertility as in her case, these include very heavy menstrual flow, dysmenorrheal which is severe cramping during your periods, such cramps lasts through out your period, in some cases bleeding between periods and pain during intercourse. Most importantly your uterus may double or triple in size. Although you might not know if your uterus is enlarged, you may notice that your lower abdomen seems bigger or feels tender.

Her Doctor told her Adenomyosis is common in women between the ages of 35 and 50 because it is between these ages that women have an excess of estrogen (Child bearing age). There is no known cause, a lot of people just have different theories ranging from the direct invasion of endometrial cells from the surface of the uterus into the muscle that forms the uterine walls; other experts hypothesize that Adenomyosis originates within the uterine muscle from endometrial tissue deposited there when the uterus first formed in the female fetus while a recent theory proposes that bone marrow stem cells may invade the uterine muscle, causing Adenomyosis. I read the risk factor here includes having a uterine surgery like Myomectomy or C-Section during childbirth and middle age.

Although not harmful, the pain and excessive bleeding associated with Adenomyosis can have a negative effect on your lifestyle. You may find yourself avoiding activities that you previously enjoyed because you have no idea when or where you might start bleeding. Painful periods can cause you to miss work and can strain relationships. Recurring pain can lead to depression, irritability, anxiety, anger and feelings of helplessness. That’s why it’s important to seek medical evaluation if you suspect you may have Adenomyosis.

If you experience prolonged, heavy bleeding, chronic anemia may result. When you notice such, it is advisable to see a doctor soon; arm yourself with questions such as how is Adenomyosis diagnosed? How much experience do you have in diagnosing and treating Adenomyosis? Are there any medications I can take to improve my symptoms? What side effects can I expect from medication use? Under what circumstances do you recommend surgery? Will I take a medication before or after surgery? Could my condition affect my ability to become pregnant? Are there any alternative treatments I might try?

Mostly treatments include painkillers, hormonal therapies or the total removal of the uterus if the bleeding is life threatening and one has had children. A good gynecologist will tell you which way to go after diagnosis. It is important to note like I told Omotara that with Adenomyosis, you can still have children as nothing can stop God’s words to manifest in your life only believe. I will definitely be giving you her testimony when she finally has children.

When you want to get pregnant, every month that passes without a positive pregnancy test can seem like a lifetime. Checking yourself (medical checks) is not a lack of faith. Have you had any of these symptoms, have you seen a doctor? What is your diagnosis? What of a second opinion as I told Omotara? Please share your experiences here and don’t forget to share the blog with a friend.

PS: Good to read, using Google you can learn a whole lot, but always confirm with your doctor before using any medication or procedure. Do not take herbal medicines without consulting your doctor.

 

 

 

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