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Alternative NamesEndometriosis interna; Adenomyoma
Definition Return to top
Adenomyosis is uterine thickening that occurs when endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, moves into the outer muscular walls of the uterus.
Causes Return to top
The cause is unknown. Sometimes adenomyosis may cause a mass or growth within the uterus, which is called an adenomyoma.
The disease usually occurs in women older than 30 who have had children. It usually occurs in women who have not carried a pregnancy to term.
It is more likely in women with previous cesarean section or other uterine surgery.
Symptoms Return to top
Note: In many cases, the woman may not have any symptoms.
Exams and Tests Return to top
During a pelvic exam, the doctor may find an soft and slightly enlarged uterus. The exam may also reveal a uterine mass or uterine tenderness.
An ultrasound of the uterus may help tell the difference between adenomyosis and other uterine tumors. MRI can be helpful when ultrasound does not give definite results.
Treatment Return to top
Most women have some adenomyosis as they near menopause but few women have symptoms, and most women don’t require any treatment.
In some cases, pain medicine may be needed. Birth control pills and a progesterone-containing intrauterine device (IUD) can help decrease heavy bleeding.
A hysterectomy may be necessary in younger women with severe symptoms.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Symptoms usually go away after menopause. A hysterectomy completely relieves symptoms.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you develop symptoms of adenomyosis.
References Return to top
Katz VL. Benign gynecologic lesions: vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, oviduct, ovary. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 18.
Speroff L, Fritz MA. Dysfunction uterine bleeding. In. Speroff L, Fritz MA, eds. Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins; 2005:chap 15.Update Date: 10/28/2008 Updated by: Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.