Around 1 in 10 women experience adenomyosis in their lifetime, which occurs when the cells and tissues that line your uterus begin to grow inward into your uterus muscle. What can cause this to happen and what are the symptoms of adenomyosis? Keep reading to find out!
What is Adenomyosis?
Adenomyosis affects the uterus. The inside of the uterus is lined with particular cells and tissues, and it also consists of a muscular wall. Adenomyosis occurs when those particular cells and tissues that line the uterus start to encroach upon the uterus muscle and grow into it instead, which causes the uterus wall to become thicker.
Causes of Adenomyosis
The causes of adenomyosis are still not fully understood today, however there are a few theories that are thought to possibly contribute to the onset of the condition.
Adenomyosis may route back to when the foetus is developing and the uterus if first formed. This would mean that the condition was present in the person before birth.
Also, if someone has undergone uterine surgery, resulting inflammation may increase the likelihood of adenomyosis occuring.
Other injury to the uterus may also result in a case of adenomyosis due to complications in the healing process. For example, following a cesarean section, the uterus cells and tissues may begin to heal outward, causing adenomyosis.
Adenomyosis is also thought to be potentially caused by interference in the uterus by stem cells from bone marrow. When these cells invade, adenomyosis might occur.
Risk Factors Associated with Adenomyosis
Along with theories surrounding the potential causes of adenomyosis, there are also risk factors. These do not directly cause the condition, but do increase your chances of developing it.
Age: Adenomyosis is associated with higher levels of estrogen in the body, which is linked to the condition being more common in women before menopause, most often in their 40s – 50s. After menopause, estrogen levels drop and this is when adenomyosis is less common.
Giving Birth: It is thought that giving birth increases the risk of developing adenomyosis as many cases of the condition are reported among people who have previously given birth.
Previous Surgeries: As having mentioned above, injury to the uterus can increase chances of developing adenomyosis due to the disruption to the cells in the uterine lining. Surgeries such as a cesarean section or the removal of fibroids have the potential to affect the uterus in this way.
Symptoms of Adenomyosis
Many people with adenomyosis will have very different experiences as the symptoms vary from person to person. Some people have more serious symptoms while ⅓ of women diagnosed with adenomyosis experience no symptoms at all.
There are various symptoms of adenomyosis and these include heavy or extended menstrual bleeding or cramps, pain during sex, the development of spotting between periods, pain in the pelvis and abdominal area and discomfort in the bladder and rectum areas. If you think you might be experiencing any of these systems, or have experienced one of the causes or risk factors for adenomyosis, it is important to speak with your doctor to discuss your health.
Stay tuned throughout the week as we dive further into adenomyosis and discuss its treatment and some natural tips to deal with these symptoms!