What is it?

Uterine adenomyosis is a condition that causes heavy, painful periods in women. In women who have uterine adenomyosis, the uterus gets larger than normal. This happens because the kind of cells that normally line the inside of the uterus start to grow in the walls of the uterus. Adenomyosis often happens along with other problems that affect the uterus, especially endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition in which the kind of cells normally found only in the uterus starts to grow outside of the uterus.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Cervical endometriosis
- Uterine endometriosis

Signs & symptoms

Adenomyosis symptoms may include:
- Heavy periods
- Painful periods
- Pain in the lower belly


Adenomyosis may be difficult to diagnose. In the past, it was diagnosed only by examining tissue samples, for example after uterine surgery. Now the noninvasive diagnostic tools of sonograms and MRI are available. Adenomyosis causes the uterus to enlarge, so your doctor will perform a physical exam to feel if your uterus is swollen or tender. A sonogram is usually done first. An MRI is used if needed to confirm the diagnosis. In some cases, where a more precise image is required, sonohysterography may be used. This involves an injection of saline solution into the uterine cavity before a sonogram. The sonohysterography can distinguish between adenomyosis and other disorders of the uterus such as polyps or cysts, as it allows the inside of the uterus to be better visualized.


The only proven treatment for adenomyosis is surgery to remove the uterus, called a hysterectomy. But there are other treatment options that might reduce the heavy bleeding caused by adenomyosis, including:
- IUD – An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small device that fits inside the uterus and is normally used to prevent pregnancy. It is most recommended to use the hormonal IUD type.
- Endometrial ablation – This is surgery to cause scarring in the lining of the uterus, which makes periods less heavy.
- Uterine artery embolization – This is a treatment that blocks the blood supply to the uterus.
Treatments that can ease the pain of adenomyosis include:
- Pain medicines, such as ibuprofen (sample brand names: Advil, Motrin)
- Birth control pills
- A medicine called leuprolide (brand names: Lupron, Eligard), which causes your ovaries to stop making the hormones estrogen and progesterone

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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