Adenomyosis is a condition of the uterus that can mimic many of the signs and symptoms of fibroid. It is non-cancerous. This condition results from the lining cells of the uterus growing directly into the muscle wall of the uterus.

The lining cells of the uterus bleed at the time of the menstrual period, these misplaced cells in the muscle bleed as well.

  Bleeding directly into the muscle causes pain. As the blood accumulates, the surrounding muscle swells and forms fibrous tissue in response to the irritation. This swollen area within the uterine muscle wall, called an adenomyoma, feels very much like a fibroid on examination and is often confused with a fibroid on a sonogram.

For many years, adenomyosis has been suspected of causing infertility in women.


Symptoms of Adenomyosis

It may be mild and cause no symptoms at all, or, in more severe forms, it may lead to heavy bleeding and severe cramping during menstrual periods. Adenomyosis is present in about 10 percent of women and, therefore, is less common than fibroid.


Adenomyosis Leading to Infertility

This gynecology disease has been suspected to be causing infertility in women. In the past, the diagnosis of adenomyosis has only been possible based on a pathologist’ examining the uterine muscle and lining cells after a hysterectomy, so fertility could never be measured.

Now MRI (and probably 3-D ultrasound) allows the diagnosis of adenomyosis without hysterectomy and, therefore, scientific investigation of this condition has increased dramatically.

Study: The authors reviewed the new research and they present multiple reasons why adenomyosis might cause infertility.

Results: The evidence that adenomyosis causes infertility includes:


In women with adenomyosis, the muscles cells in the uterine wall swell and they function differently than normal uterine muscle cells.

Women with adenomyosis, the lining cells of the uterus do not go through normal changes during the menstrual cycle.

In women with adenomyosis, the uterine lining cells cause inflammation in the muscle wall which interferes with the movement of the fertilized egg inside the uterus.

Some women with adenomyosis, there are changes in the uterine lining cells that interfere with implantation of the fertilized embryo.



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How Is the Diagnosis of Adenomyosis Made?

The diagnosis of adenomyosis is suspected if the uterus feels enlarged and tender to the touch during the pelvic examination.

However, the diagnosis of adenomyosis based on these findings is often inaccurate, and other causes- fibroid, endometriosis, or polyps-are often found as the cause for the bleeding or discomfort.

The diagnosis may be suggested by the appearance of the uterus on a sonogram, although it is often difficult to tell the difference between adenomyosis and fibroid using sonography. MRI is better at detecting adenomyosis, but the test is very expensive and rarely used for this purpose.


What Is the Treatment for Adenomyosis?


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