Endometriosis vs Adenomyosis: Know the difference

Endometriosis and adenomyosis both affect endometrial tissue that affects reproductive health, but they are different. Here’s everything you need to know.

Endometriosis and adenomyosis are conditions where endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus, affecting various organs like the ovaries, bowels, lungs, and even the brain. The exact causes of these conditions remain a mystery, with factors such as genetics, lifestyle choices, and previous surgeries being speculated as potential triggers. Both disorders develop when estrogen levels are sufficiently high to promote the growth of endometrial tissue. Endometriosis is characterised by severe pain, while adenomyosis leads to excessive bleeding. Many patients exhibit both conditions simultaneously.

Endometriosis vs adenomyosis: Know the difference

Here are the differences between endometriosis and adenomyosis that you should know:

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a chronic condition that impacts women and girls of reproductive age worldwide. It causes intense pain during menstruation, sexual activity, bowel movements, and urination, as well as chronic pelvic pain, bloating, nausea, fatigue, and sometimes mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Infertility can also be a consequence of endometriosis. Endometriosis has wide-ranging social, public health, and economic implications that can greatly reduce the quality of life for those affected. Some individuals experience such severe pain that they are unable to attend work or school. Painful intercourse due to endometriosis can strain relationships and impact the sexual health of both partners.

Woman experiencing period cramps
You should never ignore endometriosis pain. Image courtesy: Freepik

What is adenomyosis?

Adenomyosis is a condition where the endometrial tissue, which usually lines the uterus, starts growing into the muscular wall of the uterus. This displaced tissue behaves as it normally would during each menstrual cycle, thickening, breaking down, and bleeding. Symptoms of adenomyosis include heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, severe pelvic pain during menstruation, chronic pelvic pain, painful intercourse, and possible enlargement of the uterus. Individuals may also experience tenderness or pressure in the lower abdomen.

Endometriosis and adenomyosis: How does the treatment differ?

The treatment approaches for endometriosis and adenomyosis vary significantly. While surgery is usually considered a last resort for both conditions, medical interventions for endometriosis are customized based on the patient’s pain levels and fertility goals, even in cases involving teenagers. Medications are prescribed to prevent the progression of the condition, temporarily with progesterone-based pills often used to manage symptoms effectively.

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Surgery may be necessary for endometriosis for a significant relief of symptoms, although it does not always guarantee a permanent cure due to the possibility of relapse. Chances of relapse are fewer with surgery. However, surgical interventions for adenomyosis are more likely to offer a potential cure by containing the growth of abnormal tissue. It is essential to consult with an expert in reproductive health and undergo diagnostic scans to accurately assess the extent of the condition and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Woman having period pain
Don’t confuse endometriosis and adenomyosis if you get the pain. Image courtesy: Freepik

While achieving a complete cure may not be immediate, proactive efforts can lead to improved symptom management and enhanced quality of life. Alongside medical interventions, lifestyle modifications such as stress reduction techniques, exercise, and dietary adjustments, called as an endo diet may also be recommended to help alleviate symptoms and support overall well-being.

It is crucial for individuals experiencing symptoms of endometriosis or adenomyosis to seek medical advice and engage in open discussions with healthcare professionals. Through a collaborative approach and ongoing monitoring, treatment plans can be optimized to address individual needs, minimize discomfort, and enhance the long-term management of these conditions.