Treatments for Adenomyosis
Adenomyosis comes from the words: adeno – gland, myo – muscle, osis - condition.
What is adenomyosis?
Although adenomyosis and endometriosis share a number of features, it is considered a different condition to endometriosis.With endometriosis, cells that are similar to those that line the uterus are found in other locations such as the ovaries, other locations in the pelvis, the fallopian tubes, and can also be found on the bowel and bladder.
Adenomyosis is not the same as fibroids either, the uterine growths are not muscle like fibroids. Instead, they are cells or lining grown into the uterine muscle. Adenomyosis refers to when cells that normally line the uterus (the endometrium) that are abnormally located in the uterine wall (the myometrium).
Adenomyosis cause and risk factors
It is not known what causes adenomyosis but like endometriosis, it is fueled by estrogen. Therefore, many women find the condition improves after menopause. Some factors that may cause the disease include hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and prolactin, certain genes, and inflammation.1
Some of the risk factors for developing adenomyosis include having children, previous surgery involving the uterus, shorter menstrual cycles, age between 35 and 50 years, having a cesarean section, and early onset of the first period.2
Approximately one third of women experience no symptoms. In other cases, the main symptom is painful periods. Other symptoms include chronic pelvic pain, abnormal, and heavy bleeding, and infertility.3
Usually a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is often used to diagnose adenomyosis. Sometimes doctors use an ultrasound, but it is less sensitive than an MRI and may miss adenomyosis. However, imaging studies are not precise.2 Therefore, the only way to accurately diagnose adenomyosis is through examination of the uterus after a hysterectomy.2
Conventional treatment of adenomyosis include a hysterectomy, hormonal suppression with the continuous use oral contraceptives, or a hormonal IUD (intrauterine device) such as a Mirena. Unfortunately, the only completely effective therapy for adenomyosis is a hysterectomy.3
Diet and lifestyle strategies
Natural treatments for adenomyosis can help symptoms but cannot cure the condition. Given the condition is similar to endometriosis in that it is inflammatory, consists of underlying immune dysfunction, and fueled by estrogen, eating an anti-inflammatory diet and consuming plenty of fiber is important to escort excess estrogen out of the body.
Some key features of an anti-inflammatory diet include:
- Plenty of whole foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole-grains, nuts, and seeds
- Approximately 3 serves of fish per week (such as wild salmon, skipjack or smaller species of tuna, sardines and anchovies)
- Limited consumption of red meat (maximum one serve per week)
- Limited consumption of sugar, alcohol, processed meat (such as salami), and fried foods
- Consider removing gluten and cow’s dairy as they can worsen symptoms in some women
Supplements and herbal medicine for adenomyosis:
- Curcumin (a constituent of turmeric) lightens periods and helps lower pain and inflammation.
- Zinc helps reduce pain and inflammation.
- Magnesium can help lower inflammation, helps with muscle relaxation and mood.
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